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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Youngsters Overwhelm Oilers, McDavid In 6-2 Victory



Montreal Canadiens Harris

The Montreal Canadiens’ youngsters showed up big in their duel against the Edmonton Oilers, using their energy and relentless work ethic to outhustle their opponents to a decisive victory to cap off a successful Super Bowl weekend.

It’s not easy to play in a back-to-back setting, both in matinee games. It’s much harder to play the second leg of said back-to-back games against one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers, who can count on Conor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Despite all that, the Canadiens, led by youngsters like Jordan Harris, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Kirby Dach, were more than up to the task.

The Canadiens played a tight game in front of goaltender Jake Allen, keeping the likes of McDavid and Draisaitl to the outside for most of the game.

What’s most impressive, is that rookies like Harris, Johnthan Kovacevic and Justin Barron were at the heart of that effort and not only succeeded in holding their own, but the Canadiens controlled 50% or more of the offensive chances when each was on the ice.

It gave Canadiens fans a glimpse of things to come, as the development of their young defensive brigade is likely to be one the biggest positives of the season in hindsight.

Assistant coach Stephane Robidas deserves some praise for his work this season. He’s helped develop one of the youngest defensive corps the Canadiens have ever iced and, slowly but surely, mentored them into bonafide NHL defencemen.

Here’s your post-game review below:

Celebrating In Style

Jordan Harris‘ play has been trending upward since the Canadiens returned from their long road trip in December.

The 22-year-old has shown more assurance with the puck and looked to be gaining in confidence with every passing game.

However, as of late, he’s playing with the maturity of a seasoned veteran and is trusting his offensive instincts with more regularity; resulting in the generation of higher numbers of offensive chances.

He’s become more active from the blue line and is using his speed on the transition to get himself into better offensive situations; which helped the Canadiens maintain puck possession while he was on the ice.

By gaining more confidence in his abilities as a puck carrier, Harris proved to be one of the more dangerous defencemen for the Canadiens this weekend; especially against the Oilers.

Harris, who recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Canadiens, celebrated the achievement in style, by potting two goals in the game against the Oilers and proving that all good things come in bunches.

Playing With Fire

Montreal Canadiens rookie Arber Xhekaj may have bit off more than he can chew, getting into a fight with Edmonton Oilers defenceman Vincent Desharnais and then leaving the game in discomfort.

The 22-year-old has taken on all comers so far this season, and today was no different, as he jumped to defend his teammates after a heated crowd formed in front of Jake Allen’s net.

Xhekaj immediately found a dance partner in Vincent Desharnais, and the two engaged in a very aggressive fight.

Unfortunately for Xhekaj, he seemed to walk out of the fight as the victor, but it came at a cost.

He immediately got up from his tilt with Desharnais and made his way to the bench favouring his shoulder and looking to be in serious discomfort.

Although the Canadiens didn’t immediately comment, it looked like Xhekaj’s shoulder was hanging; meaning that it may be more serious than simple soreness.


A Long Time Coming

Alex Bezile has made a career out of working hard and biding his time for the right opportunity; and he was finally rewarded for it this afternoon.

The 31-year-old winger has been honing his craft in the ECHL and AHL for the last ten years; earning call-ups to the NHL in each of the last three seasons.

The veteran forward made the most of his most recent opportunity with the Montreal Canadiens however. In his most recent call-up, Belzile’s registered four assists in his last six games, but the quest for his first career NHL goal remained.

That quest came to an end this afternoon, as he was able to jump on a loose puck in the slot and wire home a bullet past Stuart Skinner to get his first marker in the big leagues.

Belzile looked visibly elated on the bench after scoring his goal and the announcement of his goal was met with a loud, playoff-like roar from the crowd; showing their appreciation for the major achievement of the Canadiens’ journeyman veteran.

*Alex Belzile (31 years, 165 days) became the seventh-oldest player to score his first NHL goal with Montreal and the oldest since Herb Gardiner (35 years, 35 days) on Dec. 7, 1926.