The Columbus Blue Jackets, led by Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, dominated the pace of the game from start to finish against the Montreal Canadiens, cruising to a 5-1 win.
Patrik Laine had been criticized for his lacklustre style of play over the last couple of weeks, but he was fully engaged in this tilt, and it showed. Right from the start of the game, he was skating hard and making plays with linemate Jack Roslovic. Both Laine and Roslovic showed their potential to take over games, as they were able to overload the Canadiens’ defencemen and open up passing lanes for multiple offensive chances.
The duo combined for the first two goals of the game for the Blue Jackets, which gave them a lead over the Montreal Canadiens that they would never relinquish as the game went on. Elvis Merzlikins was able to push away everything the Montreal Canadiens threw at him, with the exception of Ryan Poehling’s perfect deflection on the powerplay. Merzlikins stood tall when the Canadiens pressed in the offensive zone and was active in cutting off the Canadiens’ dump-ins and beginning the transition himself.
It was a frustrating night for the Montreal Canadiens, who couldn’t seem to get anything going offensively. It was even more frustrating for Mike Hoffman, who had his worst game as a Montreal Canadien this season. The veteran winger played carelessly and made poor decisions with the puck resulting in golden opportunities for the Blue Jackets. Currently used at the top of the Canadiens’ 1st powerplay, Hoffman coughed up the puck on multiple occasions, resulting in odd-man rushes for the shorthanded Blue Jackets, but Hoffman was bailed out by strong back checks from teammates like that of Ryan Poehling in the second period.
Although he allowed five goals, Samuel Montembeault cannot be blamed for this loss; as he battled against every offensive opportunity, he was faced with and made many highlight-reel saves. His 26-save performance doesn’t necessarily look good at first glance, but this game could have been even uglier had he not made some incredible saves throughout the evening.
Here’s your MHN Postgame Poutine:
GOLD STAR: Patrik Laine- Patrik Laine was on a cold streak with just two points in his last six games, but his fortunes would change tonight. Laine was in constant motion and moving his feet, which helped him generate many offensive chances for the Columbus Blue Jackets, especially on the rush. He had the primary assist on both of Jack Roslovic’s goals and then potted a goal of his own on the powerplay, figuring in a major way on each of Columbus’ first three goals in this game.
— Chris G (@ChrisHabs360) April 14, 2022
TABARNAK: Mike Hoffman Slashing Penalty: Mike Hoffman had a very frustrating game for the Montreal Canadiens. After a few disappointing shifts on the powerplay, Hoffman was fed by Jake Evans on a 2-on-1 and missed the net. Hoffman added insult to injury by slashing a Columbus defenceman, which immediately earned him a two-minute trip to the penalty box. Hoffman’s lack of discipline would prove extremely costly in the end, as Patrik Laine would capitalize on his mistake by giving Columbus the 3-0 lead on the ensuing powerplay.
TURNING POINT: Roslovic Pots A Pair: The Montreal Canadiens were hanging on in the second period, down by only one goal and doing what they could to ward off the multiple offensive chances that Columbus was throwing their way. Columbus continued to push, and it was an odd-man rush started by Patrik Laine and completed by Jack Roslovic that would give the Blue Jackets the 2-0 lead and a stranglehold on the game’s momentum.
Quel arrêt de Sam!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) April 14, 2022
HONORABLE MENTION: Jack Roslovic: Jack Roslovic had scored a hattrick in Columbus’ previous game against the Detroit Red Wings, and he was hungry for more tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. He scored another two goals tonight, which was enough to give Columbus a stranglehold on the momentum of the game right from the early moments of the second period. Roslovic continued to play a very intense game, pushing the pace and attacking the high danger areas with ease.
BY THE NUMBERS: Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens lined up Wednesday night:
Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki–Josh Anderson
Brendan Gallagher-Christian Dvorak-Joel Armia
Mike Hoffman-Jake Evans-Rem Pitlick
Tyler Pitlick-Laurent Dauphin-Micheal Pezzetta
Alexander Romanov-David Savard
Joel Edmundson-Jeff Petry
Jordan Harris-Chris Wideman
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Everyday, he gets fired up and excited to play, but he can only do so much. It’s us 20 guys that go out there and play and we got to perform and tonight we just didn’t do that.” – Joel Edmundson on the club’s unsatisfactory performance tonight.