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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki Stays Hot In Exciting Loss Vs Panthers



Montreal Canadiens Cole Caufield Nick Suzuki

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Samuel Montembeault was hoping to earn his first win against the team that drafted him back in 2015, the Florida Panthers.

Surprisingly, the game between the Habs and the Panthers was a barn burner that required a shootout session for the Panthers to win it.

On the bright side (for some fans), the Habs slightly improved their draft odds and went toe to toe against a division-leading, powerhouse team.

Here are today’s tilt highlights.

Mr. February

The captain had himself a month!

Trailing only Auston Matthews in goals scored during February, Nick Suzuki came out to play and was rewarded with yet another goal.

Fun fact: he is now tied with Brian Savage for most Montreal Canadiens’ goals in a month with 11. Savage accomplished the feat in a wild October month of 1995.

Here’s the slick finish by #14 – but peep that sweet dish by Arber Xhekaj.

Suzuki was head and shoulders above any Montreal Canadiens player, with a strong showing. His impact on both sides of the puck was noticeable, stringing good play after good play, forcing turnovers, breaking up plays, and creating good things throughout the contest.

The captain tallied two extra assists, including this one on a crucial faceoff draw, with only a few seconds remaining in the second frame – feeding Slafkovsky for a buzzer-beater.


Systems Overload

The Florida Panthers were having their way in the Montreal Canadiens zone, for extended stretches. Their possession game and cycle were quite effective, forcing defenders to prolong their shifts and take penalties out of fatigue.

Matthew Tkachuk, Nick Cousins, and Evan Rodrigues dusted off the shoulder pads, constantly baited defenders into extracurricular activity, and created all sorts of problems, swarming Montreal’s squad.

This resulted in numerous powerplays for the home team, where they capitalized once on five occasions. They are a well-oiled, annoying team and are poised to look ever more dangerous in the playoffs, where referees tend to “let the boys play”.

Watch out!

Sheriff On Duty

While a few of the Panthers players were pushing, shoving, and looking for meaningful hits throughout the game, you have to think things could have gone south without Xhekaj’s presence.

Let’s just say no one was interested in facing the music when #72 was on the ice.

Xhekaj and Tkachuk were seen exchanging blows and words throughout the game, but in the end, the Panther’s top forward was limited to one assist, partly to the Montreal Canadiens defenceman’s credit.

On top of keeping him honest and boxing him out relentlessly in front of the crease, the hulking defender led the team in Expected Goals %(xG) while being the second most relied upon rearguard in regulation time.

A solid showing for the young defender, arguably one of his best games of the year.


Stick taps to MoneyPuck for advanced metrics and to Matt Drake for them sweet clips.