Jets 4 – Canadian 2 | Samuel Montembeault’s “rock’n’roll” year

We know how ruthless the Bell Center crowd can be. But when she loves, she loves for real.

Updated yesterday at 11:54 p.m.

Simon Olivier Lorange

Simon Olivier Lorange
The Press

Guillaume Lefrancois

Guillaume Lefrancois
The Press

Talk to Samuel Montembeault. Already he has an easy smile, he was not going to remain frozen in front of the “Monty! Monty! » which mutated into « Mon-tem-beault! Mon-tem-beault! in the second period, while the Winnipeg Jets players cheerfully passed the puck in the CH zone and the goalkeeper offered a lateral movement clinic.

Despite his club’s 4-2 loss, the big guy admitted that it was “really special” to hear his name in the heights of the Bell Centre. Especially since this same name has not been mentioned often by his coaches in recent weeks.

Montembeault resolutely lives, like all his team, a strange season. When ex-general manager Marc Bergevin claimed him off waivers just before the start of the campaign, it was obvious that it was to make him assistant to Jake Allen during the absence of Carey Price. The distribution of duties left no ambiguity: the veteran got 14 of the first 16 starts of the season before getting injured. Upon his return, he had eight of the next nine before sitting out again. And on his most recent return, after a long convalescence, he started 11 of CH’s 12 games.

Adding up those three intervals, he was the busiest goaltender in the league. Adding to this sum the game of January 12, returning from the holidays, during which he was injured, we see that, when he was healthy, Jake Allen had 34 starts out of a possible 38. During this time , Montembeault waited patiently for his turn. Allen’s misfortunes have become an opportunity for his partner: here he is at 26 starts.

The Quebecer is the first to point it out: he is living “a weird year”, alternating between long weeks without playing and peaks of use in abundance. A “rock’n’roll” situation, he agreed.

All this in a context where everyone is only talking about Carey Price, who seems very close to a return to the game. No need for a long demonstration to understand that if Price wins his bet to play by the end of the month, the end of the bench awaits Montembeault again.

Draw attention

The goaltender is without a contract at the end of the season, he who will become a free agent with restrictions – with the right to arbitration. The Canadian will therefore keep his rights over him.

If management decides to keep Price and Allen to start next season, he would be the goalkeeper too many. Although staying in Montreal is his “first option”, he hopes that other leaders ” [l]’have seen “. The deadline for transactions may have passed for a while, but there are still many scouts at the Bell Centre.

What Montembeault does not lack is the support of his teammates. “He went through everything,” Josh Anderson said after Monday’s game. He found himself in a difficult position from the start, [mais] it held up all year. He has improved greatly. Tonight he was phenomenal. Saturday too [en relève à Jake Allen]. »

“You can see that he has more and more confidence in himself, added Brendan Gallagher. Only in the second period, he made two or three saves on plays where the shooter expected to score. He gave us a chance every night. »


Gallagher’s last point is correct. Montembeault has certainly had some poor performances, but his efficiency rate of 915 at five against five places him precisely in the median of the 68 goalkeepers in the league who have played 500 minutes or more since the start of the season. This is despite the fact that he plays for a bottom-ranked team and faces some of the highest dangerous shot counts in the league night after night, according to Natural Stat Trick. .

This did not prevent Martin St-Louis from going there with a disarmingly frank statement about him. Asked why Jake Allen had gotten the net relentlessly over the past month, despite his team’s position in the standings, the head coach said, “I think when you put him in the net, he gave us the best chance of winning. He also clarified that the calendar has been more airy recently – which is true. And that Allen “was healthy and had energy”.

More complimentary, he praised the good work of Montembeault, “excellent” against the Jets, who gave “a big chance” to win his team. “I’m not surprised,” he added.

Two things to remember here. First, Samuel Montembeault does not seem, unless there is a drastic reversal of the posture of the management, the guardian of the future of the organization. Then, Martin St-Louis is not there to make friends. In the morning on Monday, he praised the qualities and progress of Jesse Ylönen; after the game against the Jets, the Canadian announced that the Finn had been transferred to the Laval Rocket.

This is not a defect, mind you. This management, which is much colder than that of the previous administration, can be destabilizing. But above all, it suggests, at least for the moment, that the eyes are on the objective of rebuilding a winning club. Even if it means giving a little less love to certain soldiers, however valiant, like Samuel Montembeault.

The ball is therefore in the court of the goalkeeper, who has yet to demonstrate that he belongs beyond any doubt to the NHL, and this, for a long time. In Montreal or elsewhere.

In details

The limits of Pitlick


Rem Pitlick

Is it just a bad passing streak, or proof that the Wild knew what they were doing by giving it up on waivers? It will take a little step back before deciding, but Rem Pitlick is experiencing his most difficult moments since joining the Canadian three months ago. He finished Monday’s game with a -2 record, and is -5 in his last four outings. On the ice, it gives a player who loses several individual battles or who is knocked out of the game by Morgan Barron, which led straight to the second goal of the Jets. In the offensive zone, we have too often seen him pass up shooting opportunities in order to attempt the perfect pass, which he was never able to succeed. The accumulation of such games made him lose his place alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, which is equivalent, in the organization chart of the Canadian, to the Promenade in Monopoly. Josh Anderson replaced him there. The use of Pitlick will be followed in the next matches.

The other’s brother

Justin Barron is injured and therefore missed the chance to face his big brother in the National League for the first time. The failed reunion didn’t seem to stop Morgan Barron, however. The giant size striker had a blast with Paul Stastny and Nikolaj Ehlers, in what was the most dominant trio of this match, either side. Barron had a goal and an assist and could have left the Bell Center with a point or two more, had it not been for Samuel Montembeault’s brilliance. Less known than his younger brother, Morgan Barron was a distant pick of 6and tour, 174and in total, in 2017, and moved to the Jets in the trade that sent Andrew Copp to the New York Rangers in March. A prolific scorer in the American League (20 goals in 51 games), he now has a chance to prove his worth in an offensive role in the NHL, in the absence of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. It’s up to him to seize his chance.

Harris gains confidence

Jordan Harris is the type to leave a good first impression, at least in his social interactions, thanks in particular to his contagious smile. On the ice too, he finds a way to make himself loved quickly. Early in the game, he made the spectators roar and rage Neal Pionk during an inspired presence that allowed his team to settle in the offensive zone. Later, we saw him stand up to Zach Sanford, a strong and fiery client, as well as the very agile Nikolaj Ehlers. Without forgetting that he could have had a golden chance to score his first NHL goal, but Mason Appleton ruined the project by going there with a well-calculated dive to intercept the pass. Harris found himself in the unfortunate rotation on defense last Thursday at New Jersey, but the way he played he looked like a guy not keen on watching another game in the company of the prominent reporters. on the walkway. Who can blame him?

They said

Even when things were really bad this year, the people who stop us in the street are positive. Maybe on social media there is a certain perception, but in person people support us. So I’m not surprised by the reaction of the crowd, but we appreciate it. It hasn’t been the easiest year, but this support, we can’t complain about it.

Brendan Gallagher

It’s not easy to come back from behind, especially at five against five, when they defend the blue line well and force us to clear. Their goalkeeper is very good at getting the pucks. It should have cleared a little harder.

Martin St Louis

I’ve always been a straight line player. Martin [St-Louis] told me to pay attention to detail, to change my speed when I don’t need to go full throttle. It’s the NHL, you don’t always have to arrive at full speed. It helped me a lot.

Josh Anderson

I don’t want Josh Anderson to stop skating. But there are times when he can slow down and other times when he can use his speed. You take the information in front of you, your teammates, but also the other team, the players in front of you, how those behind skate. If you just plan to go fast, you’re gonna miss chances, you’re gonna leave some on the rink. Those who understand that, their production will go up.

Martin St Louis


Joel Armia

He and Christian Dvorak develop an obvious complicity. He scored a second goal in three games and looked good throughout.


Corey Schueneman

The defender is at his best when playing as simply as possible. A risky pass in front of his goalkeeper could have had a disastrous outcome in the first period. Not a great game from him.

The number of the game


By removing Christian Dvorak from the calculation, the Canadiens’ center players won only 41.9% (18 of 44) of their faceoffs. That’s slim.

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