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Perreault plays the hat-trick hero to finally get the Canadiens their first win

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Montreal Canadiens, Mathieu Perrault

There has been a heaviness around these parts.

Just as the city comes alive when the Montreal Canadiens win, boy does it get the blues when they lose. After dropping five straight games to start the year, the feelings around the fanbase have gone from sadness to despair to outright fury. To go from nearly first to last in the league in the span of three months has been tough for the Habs faithful to take.

I’ll never smile again, until I smile at you

I’ll never laugh again, what good would it do?

Like hat-trick hero Mathieu Perreault, the Montreal Canadiens and their fans were grinning from ear to ear after a desperately needed 5-1 blowout of the Detroit Red Wings on home ice.

Perreault might even take a break from dad duty and rewatch his third career hat-trick when he gets home.

It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Drummondville native and the rest of the Montreal Canadiens early. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin’s power-play goal 5:25 into the first period surely had the team and their fans groaning.

Here we go again.

But the Habs bucked the early season trend and responded.

They bent but didn’t break. And it was two players who have struggled mightily this season who got the good vibes going.

David Savard pinched effectively down the right boards and the puck fell to Jonathan Drouin. The Montreal Canadiens forward was poised with the puck and waited for a cross-ice seam to open up. Ben Chiarot skated into the open ice and wired a wrist shot past Thomas Greiss to get the team level.

The Red Wings were the masters of their own downfall the rest of the way. Mike Hoffman got his first as a Hab off the first of three power-plays for the home team. An awful line change in the second period sent the Montreal Canadiens in on a 4-on-2 and Christian Dvorak opened his account with his new team after his pass deflected off a skate into the net.

Then came the Perreault show. He may be miscast in his role as a third line centre for now but he had a night he’ll never forget. Another turnover in the neutral zone sent he and Brendan Gallagher into the Detroit zone with speed and he beat Greiss with an inch-perfect wrist shot into the top corner glove side.  

Minutes later, his line with Tyler Toffoli and Cole Caufield turned the puck over high in the Red Wings end. Caufield’s shot bounced to Toffoli who found Perreault with a no-look backhand for a tap-in to send 21,000 fans into part delirium, part relief that a win was finally coming.

Perreault’s dream night ended in fairytale fashion as he scored into an empty net after Detroit coach Jeff Blashill pulled his goalie with more than seven minutes left. It was likely the first time Montreal Canadiens fans have ever given a standing ovation to an empty-net goal. But such are the vibes around this team that the most passionate fans in the league sensed not only the moment for one of their own but the atmosphere surrounding their Glorieux. Perreault just stood near his bench in disbelief and awe, soaking up a moment he’ll never forget.

That’s life, that’s what all the people say

You’re riding high in April, shot down in May

But I know I’m gonna change that tune

When I’m back on top, back on top in June

Will the club be riding high in April or back on top in June like Sinatra says? Likely not after a 1-5 start. But the Habs and Mathieu Perreault broke the tension around this organization for one night at least.

From the lowest of lows to a special high.

That’s life as a Hab.  

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