How to watch
Start time: 10:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens gerion: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Canucks region: Sporstnet Pacific
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/NHL Live
It may have taken four meetings, but the Montreal Canadiens finally came away with a victory over one of their nemeses this season, the Winnipeg Jets. On Saturday night we witnessed the same Canadiens that started the season, and it wasn’t just fun to watch (after the first period anyway), it was a much-needed confidence boost for the team. We saw all four lines contribute, and four of the seven goals in less than 10 minutes in the middle period. Carey Price also had a great performance coming oh so close to his first shutout of the season before letting in one late goal in the 7-1 victory.
Maybe all Montreal needed was Josh Anderson back in the lineup for the boost they were looking for. After missing three games with a lower-body injury, it was Anderson who opened the scoring after a lucky bounce. Follow that up with Tyler Toffoli’s 15th of the season, back-to-back Gally goals, and Paul Byron and Joel Armia getting in on the action, and it’s not hard to see how they chased Connor Hellebuyck from the net in the second period.
Phillip Danault can even breathe a little easier after Saturday’s game. Although he didn’t find the back of the net himself, he picked up two assists on Gallagher’s goals and had his best game of the season.
Tale of the Tape
|55.8% (2nd)||Corsi-for pct.||48.1% (23th)|
|3.29 (5th)||Goals per game||2.79 (21st)|
|2.71 (11th)||Goals against per game||3.24 (27th)|
|22.7% (15th)||PP%||19.6% (19th)|
|77.5% (18th)||PK%||80.4% (13th)|
With a little weight lifted off their shoulders, the Canadiens now head out west on a six-game road trip, starting with two games against the Vancouver Canucks. Joining them on their trip will be Xavier Ouellet and Laurent Dauphin who were recalled from the Laval Rocket on Sunday as reinforcements for the taxi squad.
The Canucks also ended Saturday night in the win column, doubling the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 and coming away the victors in a two-game sweep of the Leafs. In the third-period comeback, it was J.T. Miller who kicked his skills into high gear, pushing his team to the win and notching the game-winning goal while assisting two others along the way.
While defeating Toronto certainly helps Montreal out in the standings, it only marginally improved Vancouver’s position as they’re sitting in the second-to-last spot in the North Division. With their season now 50% complete, it would take an extraordinary finish to surpass teams in front of them to grab a playoff spot.
Vancouver may be feeling pretty good, winning three of their last four games, but the Canadiens have been a hard nut for them to crack this season. In their five meetings so far, the Canucks only came away victorious once, and that was pushed all the way to a shootout. Toffoli has been a thorn in his former team's side, picking up at least one point each time they faced off. It will be interesting to see if he continues his onslaught.
It hasn’t even been two weeks since Dominique Ducharme and Alex Burrows took the reins, but it looks like things are starting to click under their guidance. As we approach the halfway mark of the season, what would really help get Montreal back on track and start generating some momentum is consecutive wins for the first time in five weeks.
So, let’s do that.