The Canadian lost 5-2 to the Stars

Not everything will be easy for the young players of the Canadian this season.

Joe Pavelski scored three goals and an assist as the Dallas Stars defeated Montreal 5-2 on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Rookie defenders Arber Xhekaj and Kaiden Guhle had probably their toughest outings of the season. They were guilty of poor positioning or costly turnovers during the encounter.

The Stars jostled the Habs with several good checks. Their forecheck also annoyed local players out of bounds. In general, they executed plays better and showed more cohesion than the Canadian.

Despite a tough night, Xhekaj scored his first NHL goal and added an assist. Mike Hoffman also scored his first goal of the season for the Canadiens (3-3-0). Jake Allen made 25 saves.

Jason Robertson had a goal and an assist, while Esa Lindell also scored for the Stars (4-0-1), who have allowed just eight goals so far this season. Roope Hintz and Jamie Benn each had two assists and Jake Oettinger stopped 32 shots.

Rookie forward Juraj Slafkovsky missed the game with an upper body injury. A spokesperson for the Canadiens said the Slovak was injured in the last game and that his case will be reassessed daily.

The Habs temporarily lost the services of Brendan Gallagher to the Stars. The fiery forward appeared to injure his left leg in a fall in the second period. After two visits to the locker room, Gallagher returned to the game for good after the second intermission.

The Canadiens will wrap up their four-game home stint by hosting the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

A more seasoned team

The Stars had the advantage at the start of the game and they blacked the score sheet after only 4:24 of play, during a power play. Pavelski surprised Allen with a superb backhand shot into the top corner.

The Canadian was annoyed by the pressure applied by the Stars, but he was able to adjust in the second half of engagement.

Hoffman tied the game at 1-1 with 4:25 to go, enjoying a comeback on a shot from Jake Evans.

The Stars took the lead after just 18 seconds into the second period. Hintz won his battle against Guhle along the ramp and joined Pavelski in the slot. The American sniper beat Allen with a powerful one-timer.

Robertson widened the gap at 4:31 on another Stars power play. He completed a wonderful trade with Benn.

Once again, the Canadian did not give up. Xhekaj scored at 15:58, thanks to a long shot that deceived Oettinger’s vigilance.

Xhekaj was guilty, however, of abandoning responsibility to check on the Stars’ fourth goal with 17 seconds left in the second period. Lindell took the opportunity to go about it twice to beat Allen.

Pavelski, however, returned to the charge at 6:53 of the last third, dealing a heavy blow to the Habs’ hopes of recovery.

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