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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Veterans Score, Slafkovsky Excels In Win Versus Kraken



Montreal Canadiens vs Kraken

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the struggling Seattle Kraken on Monday night at the Bell Centre.

It was Brendan Gallagher’s 700th game in the NHL, which is an incredible achievement when you consider he was picked in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

A fifth-round pick making the NHL is defying the odds, but a fifth-round pick producing more than 400 points by his 700th game is almost unheard of.

The game featured one of the Canadiens’ best starts in many moons, not to mention an excellent showing by Juraj Slafkovsky. In addition, veterans such as Sean Monahan and Tanner Pearson scored, putting an end to their scoring drought.

Seattle rallied late, pushing the score to 3-2 after they conceded three goals in a row, but the Canadiens held the fort long enough to earn two points with a 4-2 win.

We also have to point out Josh Anderson scored a goal! It was an empty-net goal, but we’re not about to bemoan a goal considering how the season has unfolded.

Don’t forget to join me after you finish reading the recap for Game Over. We’ll discuss all things Habs with our great community of fans. Here’s the link to join the fun.

Now let’s jump into those highlights.

Segment 1

I’ve been highly critical of the Canadiens’ lack of preparation heading into games. They get outscored significantly, and it leads to the team playing catch-up for the rest of the game.

But they flipped the script on Monday night. It was a stark contrast to their first-period effort versus the Detroit Red Wings.

The Habs opened the scoring thanks to some excellent pressure from both Mike Matheson and Jake Evans, as well as a great pass by Josh Anderson.

It was Sean Monahan’s first goal in 14 games.

Off The Schneid

Monahan wasn’t the only Habs forward to put an end to his scoring drought. Veteran Tanner Pearson scored his first goal in 22 games when he capitalized on a rebound to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead.

It was a goal born from hard work, which is exactly what the Habs want to see from players like Pearson, who are struggling to score in general.

Hard work usually begets goals in the NHL.

Slafkovsky Watch

All eyes were on the youngest player in the lineup, Juraj Slafkovsky. He was playing on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, a reward for his very strong play in recent games.

From the very get-go, Slafkovsky looked good. He wasn’t a passenger on the top line.

Rather, he was driving the play and creating chances for his teammates.

In addition, Slafkovsky used his frame to force his way into the offensive zone, and that strategy led to a powerplay midway through the second period.

For the most part, the top line controlled the play while they were on the ice, with Slafkovsky acting as the catalyst for several scoring plays.

The penalty Slafkovsky drew led to the Canadiens’ third goal of the game, a rather nice passing play that led to a cycle in the offensive zone. Both Suzuki and Caufield created enough chaos to give Monahan a chance to drive the net and capitalize on the second pass.

It was Monahan’s second goal of the night, but more importantly, the Canadiens had a structured powerplay, which is a nice change.

Slafkovsky continued his strong play during board battles, once again using his frame to maintain possession. That’s sure to put a smile on St-Louis’ face. And Kent Hughes’, too.

Slafkovsky may not have registered a point against Seattle, but anyone who paid close attention will tell you he played an excellent game.

If I had to nit one pick, I’d suggest Slafkovsky cannot stop playing when the referees fail to make a call. It happened on two occasions Monday night, and you could argue that he may have deserved a call on both, but he can’t stop skating to complain.

Wait, what?

The Canadiens were penalized in the first period when Philipp Grubauer ran into Mike Matheson. Grubauer was well out of his crease and tripped Matheson in the process.

In a vacuum, it’s fine. Bad calls happen.

But if Jake Allen was penalized for tripping someone out of his crease, the same applies to Grubauer.

If the call on Allen was correct, there’s absolutely no way you can justify the penalty on Matheson.

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Thursday night. They will face the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm ET.

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