It is no secret that the Montreal Canadiens have struggled with injuries, most notably losing top-minute forwards like Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron for the past 30 games. With injury comes struggle, and boy have the Habs struggled. Two eight-game losing streaks have definitely put them on the outside looking in, but just when you think they are completely down and out, a new pair of victors emerges. And it likely isn’t going to be who you think.
Nick Cousins opened the scoring last night following a well-timed pass by Dale Weise, while Ilya Kovalchuk continued to shine, leaving many of us to ask, ‘what year is it again?’ Regardless, the Habs were up 3-0 heading into the first intermission and the fourth line was making an early impact.
Unfortunately, the team seemed to fall apart during the second period, allowing two goals and they were simply unable to find an answer for Vegas’ speed. Cue the third period and Cousins and Weise — again.
Dale Weise feeds Nick Cousins for the second time tonight.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 19, 2020
4-2 Habs. pic.twitter.com/GfIRB4sTuG
These two seem to have found some chemistry, which helped propel the Habs to a much-needed 5-4 shootout win. Cousins even got the nod from Claude Julien in the shootout itself.
Cousins and Weise had the lowest ice time of all Habs players for the night, though Weise put his time to use with the two assists and also tossing out four hits. Now I am not saying these two are going to be our saviours, but it sure is refreshing to see this team meshing as well as it is despite facing some very valid adversity this season.
The great news is that we are already starting to see the return of some injured players, with Joel Armia back in the lineup. Byron skated for the first time yesterday and there is speculation that Drouin might be back around Super Bowl Weekend. Until then, the Habs need to keep plugging away and securing victories to stay in the playoff hunt, perhaps continuing to find help in unusual places.