- The blue line shuffle
Andrei Markov returned to the line-up alongside newcomer Nikita Nesterov who suited up for his first game in a Canadiens’ jersey. Jeff Petry was out with the flu and Greg Pateryn stepped in. With the addition of Nesterov and a healthy Markov back in the mix, things will be looking very good on the blue line once Petry is back on his feet, which should be during the next game versus the Flyers. Dare I say it? The Canadiens are almost healthy!
2. The All-Stars are All-Business
With the fun of the All-Star break behind them, Carey Price and Shea Weber looked rested and poised in their return to the Bell Centre. Price made a few key saves throughout the game, showing that it’s time to get back to business. It’s worth noting that Price now has a solid streak of games under his belt, performing quite well over the course of the last five games. It’s probably safe to say Carey is back!
3. Captain America strikes early!
Max Pacioretty earned his 22nd goal of the season off of a great backhand pass by Alexander Radulov. Remember when some wanted to run him out of town? Good times.
4. As if anyone is surprised, Radulov continues to shine
As many eluded to, Radulov’s ability to pass and score from his backhand is unparalleled. He does a phenomenal job of simply finding the open man with a pass that leaves you questioning the laws of physics. But honestly, his personality and love of the game is what sets Radulov apart.
5. Captain America Strikes AGAIN!
Watch out Crosby, you have competition.
6. David Desharnais scores a beauty on his return
After missing the last 24 games, Desharnais lets go one hell of a shot for his first goal since November 14. Welcome back, Davey!
7. Nikita Nesterov is one happy guy
In case you didn’t see it, Sportsnet showed a clip of Nesterov in the tunnel pre-game. The newest addition was absolutely beside himself with glee while chatting with his new teammates. Following Paul Byron’s goal in the second period, Nesterov was, once again, all smiles. Welcome aboard!
That feeling when you get traded from a team that's 6th in the division to the team leading the division. pic.twitter.com/V1pLhdYHO0— Eyes on the Prize (@HabsEOTP) February 1, 2017
8. TOSS THOSE HATS
Captain America notches his second hat trick of the season and his 24th goal of the year. Explain to me again why this guy wasn’t an All-Star. He’s now second in the NHL for goals. Not bad. Not bad at all.
9. What’s a third period?
Being up 5-0 can leave a team feeling pretty confident. That’s exactly what happened in the third. Buffalo had 17 shots on goal compared to the Canadiens’ five. Buffalo managed to snag two goals with under five minutes left in the period, eliminating Price’s shutout chances. Although all things considered, the Habs skate away with a win and one very happy captain.
10. You Belong
I want to end this piece by saying that we are very fortunate at Habs EOTP to have such a diverse community, team of writers, as well as a diverse fan base. As a Canadian – as a human – no matter who you are, I stand with you. You belong, and you’ll always have support in this community.