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Canadiens Highlights

Anderson Scores Twice, Top Line Excels In Exciting Win Vs. NYI



Montreal Canadiens Josh Anderson

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the upstart New York Islanders on Saturday night, marking the last time the team would play at the Bell Centre in 2023.

The Canadiens were facing a team on the second leg of back-to-back games for the eighth time this season and were attempting to capitalize on the advantageous schedule for the first time this year.

The New York Islanders rallied late, but a great start to the game and an outburst of goals in the second period was enough to secure a 5-3 win for the Canadiens.

There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s dive right into the highlights!

Scoring Touch

The Canadiens had a very strong start, but much like a hardwood floor before applying varathane, they lacked finish.

It’s a recurring theme for Martin St-Louis’ team. Some of it comes down to a lack of natural shooting talent, but at that particular point, it seemed like everyone in the lineup was gripping their stick a little too tightly.

The Canadiens held a 6-1 advantage in high-danger chances at the end of the first period but had nothing to show for it on the scoresheet.

Even Nick Suzuki, who usually has a nose for the net, struggled with his accuracy in the first period.

Speaking of which, the top line of Suzuki, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Cole Caufield once again had a good showing. They controlled over 70 percent of the shots in the first period, as well as 95 percent of the expected goals.


The lack of goals was surely frustrating for St-Louis’ troops, but the Canadiens are not a team that can afford to let frustration boil to the surface. They have to keep plugging in the hopes that their bevy of chances will finally pay off.

On Saturday night they kept at it, maintaining their steady flow of high-danger chances in the second period.

Open Those Floodgates

The hard work paid off when Brendan Gallagher outworked former Habs defenceman Alex Romanov along the boards, setting up a prime scoring chance for Joel Armia, who netted his fourth goal of the season to open the scoring.

Say what you will about Gallagher, but he embodies the type of hard work necessary to create scoring chances in this type of lineup.

He’s also enjoying a resurgence in his underlying numbers. He’s not quite producing dominant numbers as he did back when he played with Phil Danault and Tomas Tatar, but he’s leading the Canadiens in several important offensive statistics this season.

And then it happened.

Josh Anderson scored his first goal against a goaltender since March 13, 2023.

Anderson’s relief was echoed by the excitement of his teammates, not to mention the Habs faithful at the Bell Centre who gave him a loud cheer.

The goal gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead, but more importantly, it buried a distracting storyline that had plagued the team for several weeks.

The goal must have been so nice that Anderson wanted to feel it twice.

Anderson went on to score his second goal of the game, which meant that he not only finally took the monkey off his back, but also made sure it was locked up at the local zoo with no chance of escaping.

The Canadiens were on the cusp of closing out the second period with a 3-0 lead, powered by a pair of players who have endured their fair share of criticism this season.


Work Effort Paying Off

With Anderson finally getting off the schneid, all eyes were on Caufield. The sniper had not scored since November 29, the third-longest scoring drought of his career.

He hadn’t been playing poorly. Nor had the top line. If anything, the Slafkovsky, Suzuki, and Caufield combination had shown very encouraging signs. But they had yet to score a goal at 5v5.

That particular scoring drought came to an end on Saturday night, as a good forecheck by Suzuki and Slafkovsky led to Caufield’s eighth goal of the season.

I’d also like to highlight another play. It did not result in a goal, but it was a very important backcheck which denied a high-danger scoring chance.

Caufield’s backcheck is exactly what St-Louis is talking about when he says the player is evolving. You don’t want the improved defensive prowess to overshadow the offensive impact in his case, but it’s important to be useful at both ends of the rink.


Hold The Fort

As encouraging as the first two periods were, the third period was a good reminder that the Montreal Canadiens are a team that can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

They faded down the stretch, allowing the opponents to cut the lead to 4-3 with a little over five minutes left in the third period. But it was too little too late for the Islanders, as Christian Dvorak put it out of reach with his second goal of the season.

GIF Of The Game

I’m not saying hitting Samuel Montembeault in the back of the leg during the warmup is what led to Caufield’s goal, but we have no proof to say otherwise.


The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Monday. They will head to Manitoba to face the Winnipeg Jets. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.

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