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Canadiens Opinion: Josh Anderson’s Fight Could Be Turning Point



Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson6

If you have watched the Montreal Canadiens this year, you know that Josh Anderson’s lack of production has stuck out like a sore thumb.

For Anderson, it isn’t just one issue. It appears that everything is stalling and he needs to go back to the drawing board.

He isn’t a fun guy to play against when he is at his best. Add his combination of size and speed, and you can understand why he is a fan favourite.

But he hasn’t gotten many cheers this season.

At this juncture, he needs to focus on taking small steps.

And it seems like taking out his anger on an opponent was one of those steps. Anderson did not hold back when he dropped the gloves with Jonah Gadjovich in the last minute of Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

Keep in mind Anderson only had two assists in 23 games at that point in the season, which explains why tensions boiled over. The Habs were frustrated by the Panthers, who had taken several liberties with some of their best players during the game. Gadjovich was the one who initiated the fight with some choice words for Anderson, a decision that he quickly came to regret.

Frustration had set in with Anderson, not to mention a flood of pity from fans who wanted to see him score. For a proud athlete such as Anderson, this only adds to the frustration. He was clutching his stick like a tug-of-war rope.

Perhaps dusting up his knuckles is what loosened up his mitts because Anderson looked different in the following game.

Small Steps

Rather than being a drag on possession, he finished the game against the Detroit Red Wings with a possession rate of over 57 percent.

He also registered his first point since November 12, a primary assist on Gustav Lindstrom’s game-tying goal in the third period.


Anderson would go on to register his first two-point effort of the season against the Seattle Kraken the following game, including a fantastic pass in the first period that not only opened the scoring but also put an end to Sean Monahan’s 14-game scoring drought.

For a player like Anderson who has been taking as many shots as possible to finally end his scoreless streak, focusing on playmaking can be difficult, but in this case, it was the right call.

In that moment, Anderson forgot about his scoring issues, and that’s always a good sign for a player who has dealt with more than his fair share of frustrating plays.

And then, it finally happened.

Anderson scored his first goal of the season in the final moments of the game.

Granted, it was an empty-net goal, but considering how Anderson’s season has unfolded, it’s only fair that the hockey gods finally decided to shine upon him.

There’s no way around it, the Canadiens need him to find his rhythm. Playing a fast, crash-and-bang style will help Anderson regain his confidence, and part of that style of play includes beating up an opposing player every once in a while.

Throwing hits, disrupting defenders on the forecheck, and forcing turnovers on the backcheck is what he does at his best. Getting back to his hockey roots seems to have re-invigorated the 29-year-old.

When he is skating and feeling confident, Anderson can be a versatile member of the Montreal Canadiens.

He does not belong on the top line, and despite the recent increase in production, he’s probably not the ideal piece on the second line.

But I do believe that there is a place for a physically dominant power forward in the lineup. As long as Anderson isn’t harming the Montreal Canadiens with the type of performances he put forth in the early parts of the season, there is a fairly decent chance that his increased physical play will continue to serve him well.