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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Juraj Slafkovsky Dominant In Exciting Win Over Ducks



Montreal Canadiens Juraj Slafkovsky

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night, providing them with a perfect opportunity to build some momentum down the final stretch of the schedule.

It was the team’s first line that once again drove the play, with Juraj Slafkovsky playing the starring role. More on that later.

The Habs emerged with a well-deserved 5-0 win after putting together one of their best and most complete games of the season.

Some may see it as a missed opportunity to improve the team’s draft lottery odds, and there’s merit to that argument, but we can’t forget that being a player on a rebuilding team is not fun. The grind of losing can wear thin very quickly. These are athletes who pride themselves on their ability to win.

And it’s simply not realistic to expect the Habs to lose every game.

A nice palate cleanser against a team like the Ducks will do the locker room a world of good.

Now let’s take a look at those highlights.

Establishing The Tone

Neither team managed to take the lead as the teams entered the first intermission, however, the Canadiens had a few great scoring chances, especially when the first line was on the ice.

That won’t come as a surprise for Habs fans, and you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who would complain when Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki, and Cole Caufield control the flow of the game. But there’s a point of diminishing returns when your hockey team only has one functional line. Teams quickly catch on, which leads to more intense coverage, and consequently, fewer scoring opportunities.

With that in mind, the rest of the team will have to follow their lead to provide a little relief, just as the ‘second’ line did less than two minutes into the second period.

Jake Evans and Tanner Pearson combined for a very nice passing play that led to Evans’ third goal of the year. It was a great play and will surely give Evans a much-needed confidence boost given that it was his first goal since December 10.


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The first line joined the part midway through the second period when Jayden Struble fed Slafkovsky with a great breakout pass. The 19-year-old winger took over from there, giving his captain one of the easiest goals he’ll score in his career.

Suzuki’s 18th goal of the season was yet another encouraging sign that Slafkovsky has found his rhythm.

In the first 20 or so games it would have been surprising to see Slafkovsky make two or three nice plays in a row, but it has become a common occurrence. Of course, playing with good linemates is important, and we can’t claim that Caufield and Suzuki are the team’s best players, but we also can’t deny that Slafkovsky’s presence on that line has pushed them to the next level.

It was the sixth game in a row in which Slafkovsky earned at least one point, making it the longest point streak by a teenager in Montreal Canadiens history, tied with Doug Wickenheiser, who originally set the record in 1980.

Slafkovsky wasn’t done with his excellent play.

The first goal was so nice that he wanted to do it twice.

He produced his second assist on a Suzuki goal when the Canadiens’ powerplay finally capitalized on their many opportunities and gave the home team a 3-0 lead.

The goal took place with the man advantage, but we should give some credit to head coach Martin St-Louis for his smart 5v5 line matching on Tuesday night. The top line faced the Ducks’ fourth line on several occasions, and it almost always led to a great scoring chance.

To put a bow on their excellent effort, the top line once again went to work, scoring a goal following a very nice passing play. Full marks to Suzuki for returning the favour to Slafkovsky with a perfect pass.

Look, Slafkovsky won’t get three points every night, and Habs fans won’t claim he’s among the NHL’s elite, but it’s rather clear that he’s enjoying a huge uptick in his development.

He’s confident, he’s using his frame to create time and space, and he’s making very few mistakes.  Essentially, Slafkovsky is establishing his identity, which is difficult to do in the NHL.

Great Moment

The Canadiens capped off their excellent game with a very nice moment, as Brandon Gignac scored his first goal in the NHL.

It’s always heart-warming to see a player who paid his dues in the AHL finally get an opportunity. And it’s even better to see them score at the Bell Centre so they can enjoy some serenading from the Habs fan faithful.

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Thursday. They will face the New York Rangers at MSG. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm ET.

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