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Canadiens vs. Ducks 10 takeaways: Dominant win

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The Habs were great in a 5-1 win over the Ducks

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Canadiens played an aggressive game.

On a night where you might expect the Habs to dial it back with so many injuries hampering them, they put on a ton of constant pressure on a Ducks team that was playing its second game in two nights on the road.

It’s very encouraging to see the Canadiens react to adversity this way.

2. The Canadiens power play is adapting.

Given the shift in personnel, the Canadiens are doing a pretty good job at making sure the powerplay is still a valuable asset to their success. The fact is that with two goals tonight, including the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner, the powerplay stamped the victory tonight for the Canadiens.

3. Paul Byron is doing more than just scoring timely goals.

He’s looking like a solid point-producing player. His assist on Tomas Plekanec’s goal was as skillful and perfectly timed pass you’ll see, which is why Plekanec had so much time and space to tee it up. He is a point away from tying his career-high in points (18) and a goal away from equaling his career-high goal total (11).

4. Jeff Petry stepped up in Andrei Markov’s absence.

He earned first star of the game on a three-point night. He played the second-most minutes among all Canadiens, clocking in at 25:07. Not only did he contribute with a goal and two assists, he was part of a defensive effort that held the opponent to just 13 shots on net.

5. The Canadiens hanging in there during the first period is a big reason they won this game.

The Habs gave up a goal five minutes in and were feeling the pain early, as the Ducks played a very physical game, ending the night with 48 hits. The Canadiens, on the other hand, only had 13 and were not getting involved in exchanging physicality, but driving offence instead - you don’t need to hit people when they don’t have the puck. Sticking to the plan, the Habs were able to tie it late in the first and then take the lead midway through the second before cruising to a victory.

6. Did the Ducks beat themselves in this one?

On the other hand, the Ducks played a horrible game. Aside from the first 15 minutes of the first period, where the Ducks amassed more than half the shots they would accumulate in this game, they played a lazy, undisciplined game. All they did was hit, and by the third period they were out of gas and let the Canadiens take over.

7. The Habs followed up a great road win with a great win at home.

That still doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with this win. The Habs played a gutsy game Saturday in Washington after a loss the night before that resulted in a Carey Price death stare at his team, and followed it up tonight with an opportunistic win. It’s wins like these that make the difference come springtime.

8. It’s a good thing too because the Habs have a tough couple of games coming up.

The schedule for the upcoming month following the Christmas break is actually pretty tough, with three of four weeks where the Habs will play back-to-back games, with five of six of those back-to-back games being on the road.

9. Shea Weber still doesn’t have a point in the month of December.

He’s gone nine games without a point now. He’s put 29 shots on net since his last goal on November 22 against the Ottawa Senators. To put that into perspective, Weber has 81 shots this season, so he’s put up 36 percent of his shot total since his last goal.

Whatever is going on there, it can’t go on for much longer. Weber plays almost 30 minutes a night of highly engaged hockey. He’s doing his job defensively. Maybe a partner shake-up could spur the offence, but would it be worth sacrificing what has been a crushing duo for opponents to play against in Weber-Emelin?

10. This graph is beautiful: