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Canadiens Highlights

Montembeault And Newhook Shine In Exciting Win Vs. Ducks



Montreal Canadiens goaltender Samuel Montembeault

The Montreal Canadiens were in California on Wednesday night to face the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks.

The Habs were looking to bounce back following a poor showing against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night, and they looked great to start but were outplayed by the Ducks in both the second and third periods.

Thankfully, Samuel Montembeault was excellent, as were Jake Evans and Alex Newhook, which allowed the Habs to emerge with a 4-3 win.

If you’re still up after the late game, don’t forget to join me for Game Over, which goes live shortly after every Montreal Canadiens game. Here’s the link to join the post-game discussion.

Alright, let’s jump right into the highlights!

Hot Start

For the first time in a very long time, the Canadiens started a game with a dominant effort. Perhaps it was the intense practices in recent games, or maybe it was the Ducks’ lacklustre defensive structure, but all that mattered for Martin St-Louis’ team was that they weren’t playing catch-up from the very get-go.

Tanner Pearson earned his first point since November 2 thanks to an excellent pass which drew in the defenders and eventually found Alex Newhook in a high-danger scoring area. It was Newhooks’ second goal in three games.

Rather than sitting on their laurels, the Habs followed it up with another goal just 38 seconds later.

This time around it was Jesse Ylonen who provided the excellent pass to a pinching Kaiden Guhle, who scored his second goal of the season with a tip-in.

Guhle also led all skates with over eight minutes of ice time in the first period.

We should note that Michael Pezzetta and Jake Evans did a great job winning the puck battles that led to the 2v1 for Guhle and Ylonen.

Montreal approached this game with the type of ferocity that you’d expect from a team that’s struggling, which is sure to put a smile on St-Louis’ face. He doesn’t always expect perfect results, but he does expect a strong effort to start the game, and that’s exactly what he got on Wednesday night.


Ken Holland, Are You Watching?

Samuel Montembeault did his part to keep the momentum on Montreal’s side in the first. He wasn’t overly busy, but he did face four high-danger chances, including this scoring attempt by Montreal native Alex Killorn.

Killorn was certain he had scored his first goal in a Ducks uniform, but he was stopped by the full Monty.

On a completely unrelated note, the Edmonton Oilers lost again.

Magic Mike

The Ducks started the second period by scoring a powerplay goal just 53 seconds into the frame, but the Habs bounced back immediately thanks to Nick Suzuki’s penchant for creating space in the offensive zone.

Suzuki is currently among the NHL’s leaders when it comes to primary scoring chance assists, and if his teammates could find the back of the net with a little more regularity, he’d surely have several more points.

It was Mike Matheson’s fifth goal of the season, and it must be said that he’s been playing much better since his slow start to the season. He’s still scoring, as was the case earlier on, but his defensive positioning is much better and he’s making smart decisions in all three zones.

The Ducks then took over the game, helped along by some questionable defensive coverage, especially from Johnathan Kovacevic. It’s hard to fault Montembeault for the Ducks cutting the lead to 3-2, as the Habs allowed several odd-man rushes within just a few shifts.

Sam’s Club

The Ducks were also the better team in the third period, and if not for some more magic from Montembeault, they would have tied the game halfway through the frame.

Look, I’m not saying the Oilers should pay a king’s ransom for him, but if I had a generational player in my lineup who is clearly frustrated with his team, and my goaltending was about as stable as Bitcoin, I’d probably invest in a goaltender that seems to be flourishing in the NHL.

With every passing the day the price is going up, and McDavid is getting more frustrated.


Late Night Show

The Habs allowed the Ducks to tie the game late in the third period. Justin Barron, who has struggled lately, was overwhelmed in the defensive zone, leaving Anaheim with a perfect scoring opportunity.

But Evans decided this game was not going to overtime, and ensured that was the case with more great work on the boards.

Not only did he create the rush, he also set up Newhook perfectly with a great pass. It was Newhook’s second goal of the game.


Struble Thrives, Caufield Fighting The Puck

It was his NHL debut, but no one would have guessed Jayden Struble had yet to play a game. He played with the utmost confidence in the defensive zone, and he did not hesitate to join the rush when the play called for it.

Struble and Lindstrom led all defencemen in shot control and expected goals, and despite the fact that they didn’t face the same level of competition as the other pairings, they still deserve a fair amount of praise.

Struble made very few mistakes, and he did not look out of place, making it a succesful NHL debut by all reasonable standards.

As for Cole Caufield, well, things aren’t going so well.

He’s yet to score a 5v5 goal since being separated from Suzuki, and his body language tells us that he’s not having fun out there. Things can change in a hurry when it comes to someone with his goal-scoring ability, but for now, the Canadiens’ sniper is not in the right frame of mind.


The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Friday. They’ll face the Kings in Los Angeles. The puck drop is scheduled for 4 pm ET.

All Montreal Canadiens statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via Natural Stat Trick.