Young Canadiens Shine, Improve Lottery Outlook In 4-2 Loss
The Montreal Canadiens got the best of both worlds tonight; fighting valiantly against the potent Boston Bruins in a 4-2 loss, while improving their NHL Draft Lottery outlook at the same time.
It’s an absolute shame that this was the one and only meeting between these two teams in Boston, because it was a callback to the games of old.
The talent, the rough stuff, the change of momentum and the roar of the crowd; this game had it all.
The Bruins, led by superstar, David Pastrnak, showed why they’re the cream of the crop in the NHL, quickly jumping to a 2-0 lead early in the game.
However, the resilient Canadiens showed their never-say-die style of play and continued to stick with Bruins throughout the game; taking advantage of their opportunities to build momentum throughout the game and keep the Bruins on their heels.
Despite the Canadiens coming out strong in the third period and peppering goaltender Jeremy Swayman with a multitude of high-quality scoring chances, the Bruins were able to restore their two-goal lead late in the game and cruise toward a 4-2 victory over the Canadiens.
Your post-game analysis:
The Montreal Canadiens clearly missed the pressing of Kirby Dach, as the 22-year-old centre has been an absolute breath of fresh air since returning from injury on Tuesday.
The Habs centre followed up his inspiring performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a very impressive showing against the Bruins tonight.
The youngster was in command of the puck and looked to control the flow of the game with each shift on the ice.
He was an essential piece of tonight’s offence, alongside Nick Suzuki, driving to the net and making key plays in tight.
He and Suzuki singlehandedly revived the Canadiens’ powerplay this evening, figuring on both of Montreal’s goals on the man advantage.
Dach’s progress has been one of the great stories of the season so far; as he continues to prove that general manager Kent Hughes made a wise decision in scooping him out of Chicago.
Mike Matheson put the puck in the perfect spot and Kirby Dach makes it a 3-2 game! pic.twitter.com/DNs53GyOAr
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 24, 2023
Nick Suzuki has come on in a big way in the last few games of the season.
With a goal and an assist in tonight’s game, the 23-year-old not only record his third multi-point game in a row, but also hit the 200-point mark with his assist on Kirby Dach’s goal.
The young centre has looked especially energized since the return of Dach, as the two have great chemistry and feed off each other while on the ice.
The Canadiens captain has been the most used forward for the Canadiens all season and is finally starting to get some puck support of late with the return of injured players and the rise of certain youngsters.
It’s resulted in a push in his offence after a significant slump in December and January; a resurgence that has him on pace to hit career-highs in goals (22), assists (40) and points (61) by season’s end.
Great pass by Gurianov, and Nick Suzuki drives it home, brings the #Habs within one pic.twitter.com/ldkyD9Y9Xb
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 23, 2023
It didn’t take long for these two heated rivals to start the rough stuff right from the start of the game.
After Rem Pitlick hit Patrice Bergeron in the head down in the Canadiens’ zone, the Habs winger was immediately jumped by Brad Marchand to defend his teammate from Pitlick’s questionable hit.
Rem Pitlick lays a hit on Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand steps in. 😳 pic.twitter.com/kfVmKEoIVl
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 23, 2023
The tough stuff continued throughout the first period, and reached a fever pitch toward the end of the period when A.J. Greer cross-checked Mike Hoffman in the mouth; warranting a five-minute major.
Hoffman was bleeding on the ice and was forced to the dressing room until the midway point in the second period, but the ensuing five-minute penalty was exactly what the Canadiens needed to get back into the game.
It was an unfortunate play, but the Montreal Canadiens deserve some credit for converting on their opportunities on the man advantage and making a game out of this, despite Montreal being down by two goals halfway through the first period.
AJ Greer gets five and a game for being a total moron and crosschecking Hoffman in the face pic.twitter.com/e2SA9gxlW1
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 23, 2023
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Suzuki and Dach did look great tonight, but Matheson looked incredible. He made multiple plays tonight with his elite skating that had me thinking about Makar. Wow! You could create a compilation of clips with both players making the exact same moves out there. Can’t wait to see what this guy does over the next 3 years (and hopefully a few more after that somehow). We’re all drooling over the thought of what Hutson may become, but we need to appreciate the magic Matheson is demonstrating right now.