Bend, don’t break: The new-look Habs work their magic again

These aren’t last year’s Canadiens.

It’s been said many times since the start of the season that this year’s incarnation of the Montreal Canadiens is not the same as last year. Wednesday’s game against the St. Louis Blues showed that once again, as the Canadiens dispatched their opponent in a way that never happened in the previous season.

From the outset of the game, the worry was that Montreal might be worn down by the larger, heavier Blues side. Instead of waiting for that to happen, Max Domi blew by everyone and grabbed his first goal in a Canadiens sweater. Then his teammates hit everything in sight, including Noah Juulsen obliterating Jaden Schwartz proving that this team would not back down from any sort of challenge.

Each time St. Louis climbed back into the game, the Canadiens found a way to put themselves back in the lead. When they gave up a tying goal to Vince Dunn in the second period, they didn’t fold like a house of cards in the breeze. In fact, they pushed the play back the other way immediately with extended shifts in the Blues’ zone that forced St. Louis to take a penalty.

Then it was Mikey Reilly, who continues to prove skeptics wrong, with a beautiful dance at the blue line before picking the corner to give the Habs the lead.

Even a late power-play goal by the Blues wasn’t enough to break the spirit of the Habs in the third period. Brayden Schenn scored on the man advantage, and then just like before the Canadiens put their new speed game to work and it paid off yet again. A flubbed pass by Colton Parayko handed a perfect set up to Tomas Tatar who got the puck toward the net, and Brendan Gallagher put it past Jake Allen with little time left for the Blues to respond.

Last year this team would have crumbled after the power-play goals against with little faith of finding a go-ahead marker. This year they take the celebrations of the opposing team like a personal offence. If you put the puck in the Canadiens’ net, they’re going to storm back looking to get the upper hand again.

Bend, don’t break, and always push the opposition. This year’s Montreal Canadiens are fun to watch, even if they aren’t always playing a perfect game.

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