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Canadiens Highlights

Primeau And Newhook Star In Exciting Canadiens Win Vs. Kraken



montreal canadiens mike matheson

The Montreal Canadiens were in Seattle to face the Kraken in a rare Sunday-night matchup.

The Habs scored early and often, establishing a stranglehold on the game with a 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Montreal eventually emerged with a 5-1 win, though the excellent play from their goaltender, Cayden Primeau, should not be overlooked, as he made over 10 high-danger saves at 5v5. More on that later.

There are a lot of highlights to get to, so let’s dive in!

Surging Sophomore

There’s no doubt about it, Juraj Slafkovsky is having a lot of fun these days. It appeared he had scored his 16th goal of the season thanks to some smart work in the crease. The NHL reviewed the play a little later, determining only the Kraken defenceman touched the puck.

Consequently, the goal was given to Kaiden Guhle, his sixth of the year.

It was his first of three points during the first period.

Even though Slafkovsky did not actually touch the puck, the play was exactly what you want to see from a young player trying to establish his identity in the NHL. He used his size advantage to create chaos in a high-danger area, all the while making life difficult for the defencemen and goaltending.

The Guhle goal opened the proverbial floodgates.

Alex Newhook followed suit, scoring his 11th goal of the season a little over two minutes later.

Unfortunately, Newhook missed a significant part of the season with a foot injury, and that has mitigated his point totals. But we have to acknowledge the Colorado Avalanche cast-off has looked very good since joining the Montreal Canadiens.

He brings a crucial element to the table when he turns on the afterburners and uses his speed to force opposing defenders to back off. The Habs tend to struggle when it comes to creating chances off the rush, and that’s where Newhook is at his best.

Captain’s Orders

The Canadiens weren’t satisfied with a 2-0 lead, as evidenced by Nick Suzuki’s excellent shot selection in the dying minutes of the period.

Suzuki now has 28 goals on the season, and it’s a safe bet to suggest he’s likely to reach the 30-goal mark.

And for the fans who were disappointed by the first goal of the game being given to Guhle instead of Slafkovsky, you can rest easy knowing Slafkovsky registered an assist on the play, pushing his current point streak to seven games.

The good times kept rolling in the first period, and once again Newhook was a catalyst. The goal, his 12th of the year, means Newhook is scoring at almost a 23-goal pace in an 82-game pro-rated season.

I’ll admit that’s much more than I expected from the speedster. It’s not that I doubted his talent, but it usually takes a little longer to find your comfort zone with a new team, especially when you join an organization that’s in the midst of a rebuild.

Full marks to Brendan Gallagher for setting him up perfectly thanks to some hard work in a dirty area.

Deserved Praise

Lost in all the goal-scoring by the Canadiens was the strong play of Primeau, who was probably the team’s most important player in the first period.

That may sound silly when you consider the Habs built a quick 4-0 lead, but Primeau had to make several nice saves to keep his team in a comfortable position.

Thanks to his great outing, the scoreline looked very flattering for the Habs, but the Kraken controlled both the shots and high-danger scoring chances at 5v5.

It should be noted he maintained his excellent play throughout the entirety of the game.

He has definitely found his rhythm now that he’s no longer forced to share the net with two other goaltenders.

Magic Mike

Kaiden Guhle was not the only Canadiens defenceman who enjoyed a very solid outing.

Mike Matheson is no stranger to highlight goals. But his ridiculous end-to-end rush earlier in the season may no longer be his nicest play of the year, and that’s saying something.

Matheson’s speed and offensive instincts were on full display when he scored one of the nicest shorthanded goals you’ll see this season. Say what you will about his defensive play, but there haven’t been many defencemen in team history that have brought the same level of excitement to the game as Matheson has this season.

Considering the Canadiens have been blessed with a laundry list of elite defencemen throughout the years, that’s also saying something.

The Montreal Canadiens will be back in action on Tuesday. They will face the Avalanche in Colorado. The puck drop is scheduled for 9 pm ET.

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