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The Habs didn’t waste any time finishing Winnipeg off as they spent both ends of a back-to-back game last week to sweep Winnipeg, earning themselves a long break in the process and a trip to Vegas for the third round.

The Week That Was

June 6: Canadiens 5, Jets 1 – The fourth line has played a big role at times in the playoffs and that was the case in this one.  Corey Perry opened the scoring early while Joel Armia scored a pair of goals (both shorthanded tallies).  The scoring from the supporting cast continued with Artturi Lehkonen getting his first of the postseason as well.  Any time you have four goals from the bottom six, you’re going to do well and Montreal enjoyed their most lopsided victory of the playoffs as well.

June 7: Canadiens 3, Jets 2 (OT) – Things were looking good early on as Erik Gustafsson scored a rare power play goal and Lehkonen scored in the final minute of the first.  However, Logan Stanley – who had all of one goal all season long – managed to beat Carey Price twice.  The Habs were all over Winnipeg but couldn’t end it in regulation.  Fortunately, they were able to end it early when a pass from Cole Caufield from the corner found Tyler Toffoli who one-timed it home.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
6 Shea Weber 2 0 1 +3 0 3 25:32
8 Ben Chiarot 2 0 0 +2 0 3 26:00
11 Brendan Gallagher 2 0 2 +2 0 7 14:57
14 Nick Suzuki 2 1 2 +1 0 4 17:04
15 Jesperi Kotkaniemi 2 0 0 -2 0 1 15:07
17 Josh Anderson 2 0 0 -2 2 3 14:23
21 Eric Staal 2 0 1 E 0 2 12:04
22 Cole Caufield 2 0 2 +1 0 8 15:05
24 Phillip Danault 2 0 1 +2 0 8 16:32
26 Jeff Petry 1 0 0 +1 0 1 16:02
27 Alexander Romanov 1 0 0 E 0 1 9:27
32 Erik Gustafsson 2 1 0 +1 0 2 13:16
40 Joel Armia 2 2 1 +2 0 4 13:21
41 Paul Byron 2 0 0 +1 0 2 14:42
44 Joel Edmundson 2 0 1 -1 0 2 24:15
62 Artturi Lehkonen 2 2 0 +1 0 10 16:13
73 Tyler Toffoli 2 1 2 +1 0 4 16:58
77 Brett Kulak 2 0 1 E 2 2 16:50
94 Corey Perry 2 1 0 E 0 8 16:12


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
31 Carey Price 2-0-0 1.48 .930 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: 4 players tied with (4)
Assists: Staal/Toffoli (6)
Points: Tyler Toffoli (10)
+/-: Joel Armia (+4)
PIMS: Shea Weber (18)
Shots: Shea Weber (28)

News And Notes

– There was some good and bad news on the injury front.  Jake Evans resumed skating and it appears as if he will be able to return early in the series.  However, Jeff Petry suffered a hand injury in Game 3 against Winnipeg and isn’t expected to be available for the series opener against Vegas.  Meanwhile, Jon Merrill will miss a few more days than expected, meaning he’s unlikely to start the series against Vegas.  (You can pick which category you think that one should be in.)

– Montreal’s streak of not trailing is now the second-longest in NHL history at 437:53.  The record is 488:38 set by the Canadiens back in 1960.

– Ben Chiarot is the only Hab skater to play in every game so far without recording a point and actually has never scored in the playoffs, collecting just five assists over 45 games – 24 with Winnipeg and 21 with Montreal.

Last Game’s Lines:

Toffoli – Suzuki – Caufield
Lehkonen – Danault – Gallagher
Byron – Kotkaniemi – Anderson
Armia – Staal – Perry

Chiarot – Weber
Edmundson – Kulak
Romanov – Gustafsson

The Series Ahead

The third round against Vegas gets underway on Monday with games being played every other day (no back-to-backs this time).  Games 1, 2, and 5 are at 9:00 PM while the other four are at 8:00 PM CST.  The full schedule is as follows:

Game 1: June 14 in Vegas
Game 2: June 16 in Vegas
Game 3: June 18 in Montreal
Game 4: June 20 in Montreal
Game 5: June 22 in Vegas*
Game 6: June 24 in Montreal*
Game 7: June 26 in Vegas*

*- if necessary

Final Thought

One of the nice things about a successful playoff run is that those who aren’t producing much are largely going under the radar.  One of those players is Josh Anderson.  You may recall that he scored Montreal’s first goal of the playoffs.  That’s his only point so far.

It’s strange that he hasn’t been productive considering his style of play is exactly the type that can stand out in the playoffs.  We’ve seen flashes of speed but it has largely has led to chances on the outside, not in the danger areas and that typically doesn’t work well in the playoffs so an adjustment may need to be made there.  The physicality has been there at least and considering that Vegas is a lot bigger and more physical than Montreal is, he’ll be quite important in that regard in this upcoming series.

It’s also strange that this isn’t the first time he has scuffled at the offensive end in the playoffs.  It’s actually normal for him to struggle; his playoff point per game average is always lower than the regular season and his shot percentage in the postseason (5.6%) is basically half of what it is during the regular season (11%).  The gap is even bigger this year (4.0% to 13.6%). 

We’ve seen Montreal’s fourth line having some success in terms of using the cycle game and maybe that’s something Anderson’s line should be trying more of.  Jesperi Kotkaniemi is strong enough to win some board battles and while Paul Byron isn’t particularly big, he can hold his own in board battles as well.  Yes, it somewhat neutralizes Anderson’s speed but it’s not as if it’s getting him a lot of good chances as it is so changing it up probably wouldn’t hurt much. 

That line has been the weak link so far and Vegas’ third line is better than those of Toronto and Winnipeg.  The third line needs to be more productive and that’s going to be fixed by Anderson rediscovering his scoring touch.  That happening in the next week would be great news for Montreal as Anderson has the potential to be a difference-maker in this series.  He’s the highest-paid forward on the team right now and they’re counting on him to produce.