By JD Lagrange – It was fast. It was furious. It was entertaining. You had lots of goals, you had a resounding fight, you had a penalty shot, you had saves. That’s what it’s all about. And Martin St-Louis’ team came out on top 6-2! To think that some fans would rather see the Habs lose games – or tank, as they say – instead of enjoying that kind of game is… mind boggling to say the least.
But let’s face it: it was one of those nights when everything goes your way for the Canadiens. Still, after a season where it seems like everything has been going against them, it sure was refreshing to see the puck bouncing for them, wasn’t it? I have retrained a few highlights from the game. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
He’s on fire! He fully took advantage of a turnover by that Coyotes in their own zone. Wrong guy to turn it over to, and he made them pay. It was already Caufield’s fourth goal of the season… in five games! He simply continues the same type of production since St-Louis took over as the Canadiens’ head coach on February 9th, 2022.
You got Jackeyed!
Arber Xhekaj was challenged by long time tough customer Zack Kassian. It turns out that it was a mistake. We have come to expect the AX-Man to win most of his fights but what came from this tilt was… shocking. Not only did he win the fight, he literally manhandled and rag-dolled the Coyotes’ tough guy. Kassian even missed some time, having to retreat to the dressing room to get fixed up.
Slick Nick… Datsyuk?
While killing a penalty, Nick Suzuki went on a breakaway and was hooked. The referee awarded the Canadiens’ captain a penalty shot. We know that Suzuki is shifty and creative, but what was coming was… Pavel Datsyuk-like! He came across right to left and flipped the puck over the glove of a surprised Connor Ingram.
Juraj on the board!
Yes, it has come! Juraj Slafkovsky scored his first NHL goal on a turnover in the Coyotes’ zone. After being stood out at the blue line by 6-foot 5-inches defenseman Josh Brown, Xhekaj (him again) went deep into the Coyotes zone to avenge his buddy Slaf by throwing a body check on Brown… which resulted in the turnover. Slafkovsky turned, skated to the net and beat the goaltender glove side for his first NHL goal. The crowd went absolutely wild and gave the 18 year-old an ovation that he will not soon forget. There’s charisma and then, there’s Caufield and Slafkovsky.
First for Gallagher
Brendan Gallagher is having an amazing start to this season, but the puck just wasn’t going in… until last night. Gally scored his first goal of the season, rewarding him for the hard work and sound play that he’s been displaying. He could have had two but just missed the net from his own zone when the Coyotes had pulled the goalie.
Six different players participated in the scoring last night. Josh Anderson (2), Cole Caufield (4), Brendan Gallagher (1), Juraj Slafkovsky (1), Nick Suzuki (3) and Sean Monahan (2) in an empty net were the Canadiens’ goals’ scorers.
Kaiden Guhle (22:19) was once again the most utilized player by Martin St-Louis last night.
Surprisingly, Jordan Harris (21:31) was second in ice time. He finished the night with a +4 rating, 4 shots, 1 hit and 4 blocked shots.
Jake Allen stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced, for a .926 saves percentage. So far this season, the 32 year-old has a 2.02 goals against average and a .938 saves percentage.
The Canadiens went 0/1 on the power play and didn’t allow a goal in three occasions while short-handed. This allowed St-Louis to rest some of his top players as Suzuki played a season-low 14:56 and Caufield only 13:13. Mike Hoffman was the player with the least ice time at 12:08. Xhekaj played a career high 17:40 in which time he had 3 hits and 3 shots on goal, finishing with a +1 differential.
The Canadiens’ next game is on Saturday at 7:00 PM ET as the Dallas Stars will visit the Bell Centre.