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The best of the worst first month in Canadiens’ history

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The first month of the season was challenging for the Montreal Canadiens to say the least.

But it wasn’t all bad.

Even after digging a gigantic hole that will be near impossible to climb out of, the team still provided several moments to feel good about.

A near perfect performance against Detroit

Two of their three wins have been against the Red Wings but the second win was a better team effort. The game looked easy. They won 3-0 and came out flying with a first shift that resulted in the Red Wings being hemmed in their own zone for almost two straight minutes. After calling out his play two days earlier in Anaheim, Nick Suzuki finally scored his first goal of the season. Josh Anderson looked like a man possessed and Jake Allen recorded his second shutout of the season. The defense didn’t give up a ton of scoring chances and the penalty kill was a perfect 2-for-2.

Yes… Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin were both missing for Detroit.

Jake Allen stands on his head, Habs win in San Jose

The Montreal Canadiens’ early season trip to the west coast was a disaster. But it could have been even worse if not for Allen. The lone win on the trip can be solely placed on the Canadiens de facto number one goaltender with a 45-save performance against the San Jose Sharks. High danger chances were 27-14 in favour of the Sharks and Allen put on a clinic, especially in the second period. There was no better save than a perfectly deflected shot by Nick Bonino that Allen was able to stretch out and stop with his left pad. Not only was it his best game of the season, but it was also his best game as a Montreal Canadien.

“I though tonight was a big night,”  said Allen post game. “Especially with you guys talking about how we haven’t won here in so long. I thought it was important to put that stupid little myth behind us.”

It was Montreal’s first win in San Jose since 1999.

Michael Pezzetta gets his shot

It’s hard not to cheer for the underdog so everyone felt good for Michael Pezzetta when he reached the NHL. He was drafted in the 6th round in 2016, making him an afterthought. He’s never put up big offensive numbers and most had him pegged to be a career minor league. Pezzetta got on the radar after a solid training camp. He was a standout in the preseason games and deserved to make the team based on his performances. All things aren’t created equal and he was cut but still on everyone’s mind. It wasn’t a surprise that after numerous games which the Canadiens lacked life and energy, that they’d bring back a player who never takes a shift off.

Is it a coincidence the Canadiens won the game that he made his NHL debut?

Jonathan Drouin gets a standing O

It was a perfect return to the Bell Centre for Jonathan Drouin. It had been awhile since the arena was filled to capacity and the fans didn’t disappoint. Last season Drouin left the team to battle insomnia and anxiety. During that time, he watched his teammates come within three games of winning the Stanley Cup. It was fitting, that during the player introduction ceremonies he’d be the last player to exit the tunnel. When he did, the Sainte-Agathe, Que., native received a standing ovation from the fans, something he won’t forget anytime soon. Drouin has been one of the most consistent players for Montreal, so far.

Hat-trick on home ice 

Mathieu Perreault had a scored a couple hat-tricks in his career but never one in front of family and friends at the Bell Centre. Perreault scored a hat-trick in Montreal’s first win of the season and it’s the loudest the building has been in quite some time. You couldn’t write a better script, Drummondville, Que., boy who grew up loving the Montreal Canadiens scores three. There were moments where the camera panned to Perreault on the bench and he looked like he was in shock. Oh, and he had recently been made a healthy scratch.

“You don’t even dream about moments like that,” Perreault said. “You just dream about being in the NHL, maybe have a chance to play for the Canadiens but to actually score a hat trick in your home building, it’s not even stuff you dream about so it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

“It’s something I may never experience again so I was just trying to take in as much out of it.”

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