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Canadiens Postgame

Suzuki & Armia Star In Well-Deserved Canadiens Win Over Avs



Montreal Canadiens Suzuki Caufield

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night, marking the first time Jonathan Drouin returned to the Bell Centre since he joined his new team.

Habs fans were quick to show him love, as evidenced by the heartwarming first-period ovation.

It was an excellent showing from the Habs against a very talented Avalanche club, resulting in a well-deserved 4-3 win.

Before we get into the highlights, I’d like to apologize for the slightly stilted game recap. Unfortunately, I lost power midway through the game and had to scramble to get the instant recap ready in time for the final whistle.

On that note, let’s take a look at what happened during this exciting matchup.

Push Back

The Avalanche scored first thanks to a Ross Colton powerplay goal a little over a minute into the game, but the Habs showed impressive resilience following the early goal.

Juraj Slafkovsky scored his fifth goal of the season to tie the game shortly afterward, a powerplay marker that was set up perfectly by captain Nick Suzuki.

As fun as it is to monitor Slafkovsky’s progress, it’s also entertaining to see some of his teammates put his great passes to good use. Suzuki is among the league leaders when it comes to generating scoring chances with his playmaking, but his linemates have had a hard time capitalizing on the bevy of chances he creates on a nightly basis.

Speaking of which, Slafkovsky took five shots in the first period, one less than his career-high during an entire game.

Where’s Makar?

A quick note of appreciation for Cale Makar, who has enjoyed more than a point-per-game pace since joining the NHL. Only two defencemen have ever finished their careers with over a point per game: Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey.

Makar scored his 10th goal of the season just a minute into the second period, giving the Avalanche a short-lived one-goal lead.

Better Late Than Never

Forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored his first goal of the season late in the second period after rookie Jayden Struble did a good job of keeping the play alive in the offensive zone.

Harvey-Pinard has not played poorly this year, and his underlying numbers tell the tale of a player who deserves more production. The goal is sure to give the 25-year-old a much-needed confidence boost moving forward.

Captain’s Orders

As is almost always the case when the Canadiens play, Suzuki was the team’s best player. He intercepted a Samuel Girard puck in the neutral zone and almost gave the Habs a one-goal lead early in the third period.

He followed it up by setting up Cole Caufield’s 13th goal of the season, a powerplay goal, his second in as many games.

Again, I don’t want to take any credit away from Caufield or Slafkovsky, but it’s encouraging to see Suzuki’s wingers finally find the back of the net with regularity. Maurice Richard knows he deserves a few more assists this season.


Toews Strikes Back

Jake Evans was given a questionable embellishment penalty in the third period, leading to a situation that was advantageous to a talented team like the Avalanche.

They did not waste much time, scoring just a few moments into the 4v4 action. It was Devon Toews’ seventh goal of the year.

As a reminder, Toews, a top-pairing defenceman, cost just two second-round picks when the Avalanche acquired him from the New York Islanders.

The epitome of a broad daylight robbery in NHL trade terms.


Joel’s Resurgence

Few players have received more criticism than Joel Armia this season, but if we’re being perfectly honest and we remove all emotions from the equation, he’s having a good year.

His underlying numbers are better than most in the lineup, and he’s already scored seven goals in just 27 games. He took 43 games to score seven goals last year.

His work ethic also deserves praise. He outworked every Avalanche player late in the third period to give the Montreal Canadiens a well-deserved 4-3 lead.

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