The Montreal Canadiens came out guns blazing and gave their fans a night to remember as they dropped the Arizona Coyotes 6-2.
It was a night of memorable moments; just ask the replay guy.
There was a first goal, a shorthanded penalty shot, a fight, some highlight reel saves and even some pretty foul language caught on tape. Needless to say, it was a far more entertaining game than fans anticipated.
The Canadiens were once again led by the young and emerging core of players, who look to be gaining in confidence after every game. The Coyotes, who did defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs in their last game, simply couldn’t keep up with the Canadiens for the first half of the game, and ultimately fell to the energized Canadiens.
Slafkovsky Scores 1st NHL Goal In Style
Juraj Slafkovsky looked like he wanted his first NHL goal tonight, as he was playing a strong game and being physical along the boards. He used his strength to his advantage, boxing out opponents from the puck and poking it to an open teammate for a quick breakout.
Slafkovsky then finally did the thing. He scored his first NHL goal after jumping on a loose puck near the Cotoyes’ blue line before walking down the slot and unleashing a bullet that beat Connor Ingram clean. He also celebrated in style, taunting Josh Brown with an incredible facial expression and some choice words, after the defenceman and clipped him a few seconds prior.
Thankfully, Slafkovsky quickly recovered from the hit, scoring a fantastic goal to become the first player of the 2022 Draft to find the back of the net in the NHL.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 21, 2022
Nick Suzuki was his usual reliable self at even strength and on the penalty kill, making sound decisions with the puck and finding his teammates on the ice. Suzuki has also been one of the main contributors the the vastly improved Montreal Canadiens’ penalty kill, and tonight he took it a step further.
While killing a penalty late in the second period, Suzuki was able to push the puck up the ice and get himself on a breakaway before being hauled down just in front of the Coyotes’ net. Suzuki was subsequently awarded a penalty shot, and, well, you know what’s coming.
Suzuki went wide down the right side of the ice as he usually does and outwaited Connor Ingram before roofing the puck high glove side at the very last second for the short-handed penalty shot goal. It’s a move that will be henceforth referred to as “The Suzukian”.
NICK SUZUKI JUST WENT FULL PAVEL DATSYUK pic.twitter.com/z3QW3qBUPS
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 21, 2022
X Gon’ Give It To Ya
Former Costco employee Arber Xhekaj squared up with Zack Kassian, and the result was nothing short of a dominant display by the Montreal Canadiens defenceman.
It was Xhekaj’s first official regular season fight in the NHL and Kassian‘s 40th, but the fight didn’t last long, with Xhekaj landing a couple of clean right hooks right off the bat. Kassian quickly reacted to the unreasonable amount of pain sent his way, but couldn’t escape the Xhekaj barrage, which then shifted to body shots.
Something named Arber Xhekaj just absolutely bullying Zack Kassian pic.twitter.com/QwdxkdVN0v
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 20, 2022
Xhekaj is starting to make quite a name for himself in the NHL. He’s already gained the everlasting attention of the entire Ottawa Senators organization when he knocked out prospect Zach Massicotte during the Prospect Challenge Tournament in Buffalo.
At 6’4″, 240lbs, Xhekaj isn’t the biggest player in the National Hockey League, but he may very well be on his way to becoming the toughest, especially if he continues to ragdoll NHL veterans as he did with Kassian.