Tomas Tatar introduces himself to Montreal with a big night

A three-point night meant ‘Tuna’ made a good impression in front of his new home crowd.

Tomas Tatar announced his arrival to the Montreal faithful with what could easily be described as a match-winning performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

When he arrived to the Canadiens in the off-season as part of the trade that sent Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights, many were skeptical about which Tatar would show up.

The 27-year-old has established himself as an NHL goal-scorer, netting at least 20 goals in each of his past four seasons. He was seen as a good addition by the Knights (the cost notwithstanding) just before they entered the unchartered territory of the playoffs, but, for whatever reason, it didn’t work out.

What has been presented to Tatar is another clean slate. It would perhaps be understandable if the man affectionately nicknamed ‘Tuna’ got off to a slow start here in Montreal, especially given it’s his second change of scenery in just over six months.

The first goal on Saturday night demonstrated exactly what the former Red Wing brings to the table. Just 11 seconds into the second period, he took up a dangerous position between the hashmarks and just waited for the puck to reach him, showing great concentration to release a fierce shot in traffic when the puck arrived.

You could call his second goal that made it 3-2 to cap an unlikely comeback a stroke of luck, however it is important to analyze the intelligence of the play.

The Habs’ power-play has quite rightly come under scrutiny already this season, but on this rare occasion, Tatar was once again in the right place at the right time, and made the right decision. He spotted Casey DeSmith’s left pad slightly off the post and used that to his advantage with a pinpoint low bank shot.

The power play needs to improve, and Kotkaniemi can improve it

Two goals and an assist constituted a productive night for Tomas Tatar at the Bell Centre. It’s a glimpse of exactly what he can offer this team, and if he continues his good form, he will easily rack up a fifth season in a row with 20-plus goals.

Top of comments section | Top of article | Homepage