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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Finally Break ‘Reverse Retro Curse’ in 4-3 OT Win



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens finally broke the Reverse Retro jersey curse in a gutsy, full-team effort against the New York Islanders in the 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday afternoon.

After almost two years of abysmal performances in their alternate jerseys, the Canadiens put together a complete, 65-minute effort against the Islanders and walked away with a victory.

It was a great way for the Canadiens to return from their 10-day vacation with their fans; as the Bell Centre lit up in the third period.

The Canadiens’ defence, including David Savard’s herculean performance in overtime and Mike Matheson’s heroics, led the team in all facets of the game today and helped give a glimpse of what this young brigade could eventually look like down the road.

It was a memorable game for fans, especially the young kids in the crowd enjoying a rare matinee game in Montreal; and one that is sure to provide the Canadiens’ own youngins with some much-needed confidence as they get ready for a difficult stretch.

Your full Habs game recap below:

Defensive Ascension

The Montreal Canadiens started off the season with four rookies in their defensive brigade; a record for the franchise in the modern era of the NHL.

The decision to ice such a young defence meant that the Canadiens would have to accept defensive errors and allow their many youngsters to learn from them.

That led to a very difficult month of December when saw the Canadiens’ young defenders struggle mightily at protecting their goaltenders.

However, as of late, goaltenders Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen, have begun seeing a lightening of their workload; as the young Canadiens defencemen have significantly improved their defensive zone play.

In December and parts of January, it was a normal sight to see the opposition get 35+ shots and over 12 high-danger chances of the Canadiens goaltenders; but those numbers have dipped; as the likes of Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj, Justin Barron and Johnathan Kovacevic have stepped up their games and have looked much more organized in their own zone.

Their newfound confidence in the defensive zone has also allowed them to play with more assurance in the neutral and offensive zones; leading to more sustained offensive time, as the defencemen were more aggressive in aiding the forwards in moving the puck through the offensive zone.

That’s exactly what Justin Barron and veteran Mike Matheson showed today.

Barron and Matheson played a strong overall game, with the Canadiens controlling well over 50% of shots while they were on the ice.

Barron’s growing confidence and improved mobility made him very noticeable in the offensive zone all game. He was finally rewarded for his efforts by scoring the Canadiens’ second goal of the game.

The growth of the Canadiens’ defensive brigade will be something to monitor as the season continues, as it will likely set the Canadiens up nicely, should things continue as they have so far, for a very bright future.

Watch Out For Kirby

There was debate as to whether Kirby Dach would ever top out as a top-six centreman in the NHL not six months ago.

There is no longer a debate today.

Dach truly began to heat up offensively as a winger next to Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, but, due to the long-term injuries to Sean Monahan and Jake Evans, he’s been asked to return to centre and his play has grown even further.

He’s now transferred his newfound confidence and high-tempo brand of hockey back to the middle of the ice, and the results speak for themselves.

He’s helped the Canadiens ice a true 1-2 punch at centre, despite an ever-changing cast of linemates, and it’s allowed the injury-stricken Canadiens to keep pace with some of the more competitive clubs in the season.

Dach has tweaked his game in small ways; such as driving to the centre of the ice with more regularity, trusting his shot more and being more aggressive in front of the net.

Kent Hughes’ gamble looks to have already paid off in his summer acquisition of Dach, but it has the potential to be one of those foundational moves that could set up the team for years to come down the middle.



The Story Continues

The story of Rafaël Harvey-Pinard has been one of the brighter spots for the Montreal Canadiens so far this season.

The 24-year-old immediately took advantage of his first few games in the NHL to cement himself as a heart-and-soul type of player that could make an impact in all three zones.

His aggressive and relentless style of play helped him earn more quality minutes under head coach Martin St-Louis, and he’s taken advantage.

Prior to the break, Harvey-Pinard had registered fives goals and one assist in his seven games with the Canadiens since his recall from the Laval Rocket.

Upon the team’s return from the All-Star break, St-Louis kept Harvey-Pinard on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Josh Anderson; as the line showed some good chemistry in their short time together in their last game.

St-Louis’ decision was immediately proven to be a shrewd one, as the three continued to show some exceptional chemistry, with Harvey-Pinard setting up Suzuki for the opening goal of the game in the first period.

Although Harvey-Pinard is likely not a top-six player long-term, his efficacy with offensive players in the NHL in his first few games in the NHL has done wonders for his stock within the organization.

It’s going to be very difficult to send him back to Laval, for this season and beyond.

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Habs must lose tomorrow. We need a good 5-10 game losing streak. Hurry up and send all rookies to the AHL and bring up echl players. Or take on bad contracts on their final year for an asset(after they deal Dadanov).


Don’t forget Kovacevic. He was everywhere today. I read somewhere how he wanted to focus on using his big body more assertively, but who knew that would play out as an offensive rushing machine? He looked great out there!


The “Tank Tops” failed! Streak is over. 🙁

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