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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Captain Suzuki Shines In Dominant Win Vs. Florida



Montreal canadiens captain nick suzuki

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Florida Panthers at the Bell Center on Tuesday night, a game featuring a team trying to take the next step in the rebuild versus an organization with Stanley Cup ambitions.

But despite the mismatch on paper, it was the Canadiens who carried the momentum, putting together one of their best all-around efforts of the season to beat the Panthers 5-3.

As is tradition, captain Nick Suzuki led the charge for the Habs.

Let’s dive into the highlights!

Casper Coverage

The Canadiens tend to have a hard time when it comes to facing the Panthers. That wasn’t necessarily the case on Tuesday, but there were still a few blatant mistakes that directly led to goals against.

Josh Anderson and Jayden Struble got their wires crossed during a first-period switchover, giving Anton Lundell all the time necessary to score his 10th goal of the year.

Hockey is a team sport, which means it’s usually difficult to pin a bad sequence on just one player, but it must be said that Anderson’s struggles this year extend beyond his lack of scoring in the offensive zone. His defensive play has been terrible.

Good Finnish

Fortunately, Joel Armia is enjoying the polar opposite season to what we’ve seen from Anderson. The veteran scored his 14th goal of the year when his team needed him most, yet another sign that Armia has really turned things around since his AHL assignment.

Just last year, some (me) were suggesting he was nothing more than a buyout target, but if he maintains his solid play some teams may even be interested in a potential trade that could net the Canadiens draft assets.

This Segment Is Where I’ll put the Innevitable Barkov Goal

Here’s the inevitable Sasha Barkov goal versus the Habs.

Confused Zebras

I don’t enjoy criticizing referees. For the most part, fans are way too hard on them given how quickly plays develop in the NHL.

But every once in a while the officiating crews go out of their way to complicate things, and that’s when I will join the chorus of fans criticizing the shambolic refereeing.

The ‘no-goal-yes-goal-no-goal’ play in the second period was the perfect example.

The most frustrating aspect of the flip-flop was that it was unprompted. No one thought Brendan Gallagher scored in the first place. Habs fans, for some unknown reason, got their hopes up because upon review the officiating crew said the puck crossed the line.

Half a minute later they decided to once again change their minds and announce that it was not a goal.

That’s the epitome of an unforced error, a situation that’s way too common in the NHL.

Now, to be fair, the referees did a very good job controlling the game in the third period when the Panthers decided to throw a series of tantrums once the win was out of reach.

Captain’s Orders

The Canadiens did not allow the confusing officiating to negatively impact their play, as they continued to carry the momentum of the game early in the second period.

Their hard work against one of the best teams in the league was rewarded when Suzuki scored his 31st goal of the year.

It’s always important to remember that despite playing with the maturity of Methuselah, Suzuki is only 24 years old. He has just entered his prime, and he’s showing us what he can do with the bare minimum support from his teammates.

Imagine what he will be able to do once some of the rest of the players in the lineup hit their statistical primes.

Suzuki was not done there. He scored his second goal of the game midway through the second thanks to a little help from Mike Matheson and Alex Newhook.

The powerplay goal gave the Canadiens an important one-goal lead while also establishing yet another career high for the team’s captain.

We’re running out of ways to describe Suzuki’s impact on the lineup, but it’s very difficult to oversell his value.

Let’s put it this way.

If the Canadiens were a vehicle Suzuki would be the engine.

And the steering wheel.

And the wheels.

And the safety belt.

And the transmission.

And suspension.

And that awkward compartment in the middle console where you keep losing your change.

But not the brakes.

Follow The Leader

It’s no secret Cole Caufield has had awful puck luck this season. His scoring is down despite being one of the most active shooters in the league.

Rather than taking a shot from his typical location on the ice, Caufield managed to get off the schneid by changing things up and successfully attempting a wrap-around.

The goal was Caufield’s 21st of the season, and it featured a very nice assist from Juraj Slafkovsky.

Special Teams Show Up

Jake Evans put together a fantastic individual effort early in the third period to give the Montreal Canadiens a commanding 5-2 lead.

We often discuss the lack of power on the powerplay and the team’s shorthanded deficiencies, but on Tuesday night the special teams certainly held up their end of the bargain.


The Montreal Canadiens will be back in action on Thursday. They are set to host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm ET.

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

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You talk about Anderson and Struble having defensive problems – but where was Harris the right side defenceman? Nowhere to be seen, blaming Anderson when the right D was caught up ice. If Harris would play the full 60 minutes Montreal would be giving up less goals.The same happened Saturday he was playing great game but numerous turnovers on one shift which led to his penalty was the turning point in the game.


I would say it was “relatively” dominant, up until the last 8 minutes or so of the game. The Habs had over 3 minutes of 5-3 PP, and over 6 minutes of PP time in that period – and failed to score a single goal…when that would have cemented the deal early. FL had numerous chances shorthanded but somehow the puck stayed out of the net. The Habs were a turnover machine in the last few minutes of that 3rd period. Luckily, they had enough of a cushion once Evans scored – and the Panthers were likely tired from playing an exhausting game the night before in TOR.

Its def i nice, unexpected win…but it wasn’t a domination.


Nothing on any Canadiens blogs about tanking. I know. I checked.

Funny how a little thing like winning 4 out of 5 against some good teams changes everything.

Now, it’s about Suzuki carrying the team, all the good things that are going on.

Rebuilds are funny things. Sometimes fans and the bloggers that cover teams, they live so much in the moment and get right into the weeds on so many things, they don’t step back to see the larger picture.

The rebuild is starting to bear fruit, team is taking shape. Long way to go still, but things are pointing in the right direction. The tanking phase is over. Now it’s about development, finding the right pieces, figuring out which prospects are keepers and which are going to be moved out in return to plug holes in the roster that cannot be filled internally.

That is where we are. Please, no more wasted space about tanking and getting as high a draft pick as possible.


You opened with you checked and said you saw nothing about tanking but yet you close with no more wasted space about tanking. Can’t have it both ways…I do want the best possible pick but I have seen no evidence that the team is trying to enhance their chances, they have played some of their best hockey of the year in recent weeks.


Both good points…and that’s the dilemma. Would you rather win meaningless games right now for short term enjoyment, or tank and lose as much as possible to get the highest draft pick possible?

Personally, at THIS point in the season with just a few games left, I’d rather the team loses every game possible, because I want as high a pick as possible – to get either Lindstrom or Catton in the 1st rd. If the Habs start winning now and finish worse than 6th or 7th spot, then the next best available forward is Iginla’s kid at about #12…so that would be a reach?

Of course, getting the 6th spot doesn’t guarantee Habs would pick 6th…there’s a lottery – and there’s usually at least one big mover up and down in the top 16…so just saying.


Agree completely. 👍Two things need to happen. First, we need to get the best FORWARD available in the draft. If we fall back enough, they’ll all be gone, and you know what happens next, we select yet another Dman. 🤮That’s a worse case scenario for me. The other thing that needs to happen is we draft before either Ottawa or Buffalo. They too have stacked pipelines, and will be the teams we need to get past in the regular season and playoffs. If they leapfrog us in the draft order and grab the better player or the guy we really want, that would be a disaster.


No argument here. What I will say is that it’s a mute point. Marty and the players don’t care about the draft and want to win every game. Like you I want to get an elite offensive forward prospect but not at the cost of team integrity. Once you compromise, you’re compromised!

Albert Vanular

Good read. As you said, Suzuki consistently leads the way and often carries the team on his back, much rhe same way Carey Price did so often in the last decade. If the Habs can find another Suzuki and another Slafkovsky clone, Montreal will be playoff bound.