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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Rafael Harvey-Pinard Scores Hat Trick In Exciting 8-2 Win



Montreal Canadiens Harvey-Pinard

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, and the results were entertaining, to say the least.

Montreal emerged with an 8-2 win, powered by Rafael Harvey-Pinard’s first career hat trick.

There are a lot of plays to cover, and many players to praise, so let’s jump right into it.

Hoffman Revenge Tour

Fresh off a gnarly wound from a gutless crosscheck by Boston Bruins forward A.J. Greer, Mike Hoffman scored his 13th goal of the season while sporting a full visor to protect his already-mangled face.

It was a perfect shot and a great way to get the Canadiens back in the game, especially since they gifted the Blue Jackets an early goal, but I’d also like to send some praise Mike Matheson’s way.

The mobile defenceman doesn’t just help the Canadiens in transition, he IS the Canadiens in transition, at least in recent games.

His smooth skating allows him to generate controlled exits and controlled entries with the greatest of ease, which, in turn, makes life easier for any given forward that is lucky enough to be on the ice while Matheson is wheeling and dealing.

Simply put, when Matheson is on the ice, good things happen.


Ylonen Momentum

Speaking of controlled entries, the importance of maintaining possession of the puck was on full display Saturday night.

Shortly after Matheson created an abundance of time and space in the offensive zone for Hoffman, Brendan Gallagher did the same for Jesse Ylonen, who scored his sixth goal of the season midway through the first period.

Gallagher didn’t just display good offensive instincts by driving Blue Jackets defenders deep into their own zone, he also had a great shift from a defensive point of view, which is often how offensive opportunities are born.

It was Gallagher’s first point since returning to play, not to mention, his first point since Jan.3.


Matheson’s Moves

Rafael Harvey-Pinard put the Canadiens up 3-2 just 13 seconds into the second period. As is tradition, the scoring play was the result of hard work and complete disregard for his own health, as Harvey-Pinard crashed the net to capitalize on a rebound opportunity.

Once again, Matheson’s mobility led to yet another controlled exit, not to mention yet another controlled entry in addition to a high-danger scoring chance, for good measure.

Captain Nick Suzuki earned his second point of the game, pushing his season totals to 22 goals and 37 assists in 73 games. He’s now just two points behind his career best, which he established last season by scoring 21 goals and 40 assists in 82 games.

But he wasn’t done yet.

Control Matters

Just in case you weren’t quite convinced about the value of controlled entries, the Canadiens capitalized on a fourth goal from a sequence that involved maintaining possession as they entered the offensive zone.

Harvey-Pinard’s second goal of the game was created by some nifty passing between Hoffman and Suzuki, with the latter earning his third point of the game, leaving him just one point shy of tying his career-best production from 2021-22.

Suzuki would go on to score the Canadiens’ eighth goal of the game, matching his career-best production with nine games left to play in the season. It was also the first four-point effort of his NHL career.

Rafael Hattrick Pinard

Following a rare goal from Brendan Gallagher, who epitomizes rotten luck this season, Harvey-Pinard scored his third goal of the game, earning his first NHL hat trick in the process.

Few players have worked harder than Harvey-Pinard to make it to the NHL.

And now that he’s proving his worth, you can rest easy knowing he’ll work just as hard to maintain his presence in the Canadiens lineup.

As an aside, I know it doesn’t matter much on the scoresheet, but Harvey-Pinard is also one of the most genuine, welcoming people you’ll meet in NHL circles, which means he’s not just a useful player, he’s a healthy addition to any locker room.

A stick tap goes out to Hoffman, who set up Harvey-Pinard with a perfect scoring opportunity with quick thinking and an accurate one-touch pass.


The Canadiens are back in action on Monday, as they head to Buffalo to face the Sabres. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM ET.

All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via NaturalStatTrick.

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As detrimental as the win was for the Bedard sweepstakes, I have to admit, once we got to 5 (and I knew there was zero chance Montembeault would allow 6 against a brutal team), I was pulling for RHP to get the hat trick, and once he got the 3rd goal of his night I was pulling for him to get a 4th one since no Canadiens rookie had done that since 1919. Too bad MSL put the brakes on the top line by that point and went the classy route and played his 3rd and 4th line guys more instead of running up the score to double digits.

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