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Call Of The Wilde: Montreal Canadiens fall to Boston on Guy’s night

The Montreal Canadiens tried to give it their best on a night when fans reminisced of days when the club dominated — the days of Guy Lafleur leading the NHL in goals and leading Montreal to full hearts.

However, this year’s Canadiens could not carry that torch, losing a ninth straight game, this time to Boston 5-3.

Wilde Horses 

Still, they wanted it for Guy Lafleur. They gave it all that they had. Their hearts were in it to the max, but sometimes it’s not enough. It’s a game of talent, and as much as the spirit was willing, hands and the feet didn’t follow.

That’s not to say that there weren’t good performances. There were. Josh Anderson seemed to be possessed. He flew down the wing looking to honour another winger who donned the CH. Anderson did score once and his celebration showed everyone what the night meant to him.

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Alexander Romanov had so much energy it was burning too bright. He over-committed at times. Mike Hoffman made the best defensive play of his entire season. Unfortunately, on this night the referees wanted to be the show too. The amazing Hoffman defence cleanly stopped a breakaway that ended in a successful Boston penalty shot.

READ MORE: The Call of the Wilde – Canadiens fall to the Senators 

Jeff Petry looked like Montreal was the city that he wants to play his hockey. Petry levelled Patrice Bergeron with an open-ice bodycheck reminiscent of the days Larry Robinson patrolled the blue line. Unfortunately, this is the new NHL. Unlike those wonderful days of Robinson and Savard, Petry had to face a rabid Brad Marchant after the clean hit.

What is with all this softness in the NHL having to answer for clean hits? In the NFL, if you drop an opponent legally, revenge is sought by also levelling a powerful legal hit — not gooning it up. In the NHL, it’s a revenge gong show. The NHL code is laughable in 2022. It’s gone the way of creative nicknames for the players. In the old days there was a Rocket, a Pocket Rocket, a Big Bird, and a Roadrunner. Now there’s a Pricer, a Gally, and an Andy.

It used to be if you initiated a fight after a clean hit, you got 2-5 minutes and a 10. The instigator of the shenanigans was basically gone for a period of hockey. If it cost your team to answer for a clean hit, you don’t do it.

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Sadly though, I have no idea how to help the players find more creative nicknames. That wonderful tradition seems dead.

This was loss number nine in a row. It may seem trite to say it, but they’re better than this. There are much better building blocks for 2022-23 being constructed right now. It will be interesting in October to see what develops.

READ MORE: The Call of the Wilde – Flyers best Habs

Wilde Goats 

The club gives up too many quality chances, making it difficult for goalies to shine. However, we already know this. There’s not much to add here. The season has only two games left. Soon we get to put this year in the rearview mirror.

Apart from the big steps taken by Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, and the good steps taken by Jake Evans, Rem Pitlick, Alexander Romanov, and Jordan Harris, there’s not a lot to cherish. But the steps taken by the aforementioned players are the groundwork to those wins, so fans can embrace that at least.

Wilde Cards

The word came out at 3 PM on game day. The Canadiens made an emergency recall of Cayden Primeau. An hour later we learned why. Carey Price could not even be a back-up for the Sunday evening contest. It was not safe.

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Price has been trying to maintain a busy schedule through the last two weeks to show that his knee could handle the rigours of the NHL. However, this is a speed bump on that road. Two hours later, Martin St. Louis told the media that Price could not show, but perhaps he might close the season on Friday.

It was also indicated Price will not even go on the road trip to New York City to face the Rangers. In his last game, Price did struggle against the Senators in Ottawa.

It’s going to be a huge question mark in the off-season now whether Price has the ability to play a full schedule next year. Perhaps he can, but no one can say it definitively right now. Not when he needs full rest for a week.

The words that Price said last week carry more importance now. He said he did not want to be a burden and would only play at an acceptable level.

Price does not seem the type of person to hang around if he can not give it his all. Everyone should be curious about what happens this summer, and who will be in the Montreal net on opening night next October.

Brian Wilde, a Montreal-based sports writer, brings you Call of the Wilde on globalnews.ca after each Canadiens game.

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