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It was a successful week for the Habs who picked up three wins out of their four games, two of which involved multi-goal comebacks.  For the time being at least, they’re a top-ten team in the NHL.

The Week That Was

Oct. 23: Canadiens 3, Sabres 1 – Justin Barron began his case for a bigger role by scoring an early marker but it was Montreal’s veterans who largely took care of business.  The third line (featuring their three oldest forwards) picked up a pair of goals in the third while Jake Allen made 36 saves to pick up the first road victory of the season.

Oct. 24: Devils 5, Canadiens 2 – With the Habs on a back-to-back against a tough team, it was decided that this was a great opportunity for Cayden Primeau to make his season debut.  To his credit, he held his own for most of the game as it was a one-goal deficit after 40 minutes with Barron having Montreal’s only goal.  However, things unraveled a bit in the third and the Canadiens weren’t able to recover.

Oct. 26: Canadiens 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT) – Montreal did not show up for the start of this one, resulting in a two-goal deficit after 20 minutes and Martin St. Louis going off on his team between periods.  They were better from that point on, however, eventually working their way back from a two-goal deficit with power play goals from Mike Matheson and Sean Monahan, setting the stage for Cole Caufield to pot the overtime winner.

Oct. 28: Canadiens 4, Jets 3 (SO) – Allen was tested early and often in this one, allowing the Habs to escape the first period with a tie.  However, Winnipeg scored twice in the opening minute of the second, putting Montreal further on its heels.  But once again, it was the veterans who queued the comeback with Monahan and Joel Armia scoring to tie it up.  In the shootout, Nick Suzuki was the only player to score, securing the win.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
8 Mike Matheson 2 2 2 +1 0 8 23:45
11 Brendan Gallagher 4 1 1 +1 6 10 14:07
14 Nick Suzuki 4 1 3 +1 0 10 20:28
15 Alex Newhook 4 0 1 -4 0 5 15:12
17 Josh Anderson 4 0 0 -3 0 5 17:02
20 Juraj Slafkovsky 4 0 0 -3 0 6 14:14
21 Kaiden Guhle 1 0 2 +2 2 4 25:08
22 Cole Caufield 4 1 3 +2 2 16 19:13
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 4 0 0 -1 2 3 20:29
27 Gustav Lindstrom 2 0 0 E 0 1 11:51
40 Joel Armia 1 1 0 +1 0 3 14:56
49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 4 0 1 E 0 3 14:43
52 Justin Barron 4 3 0 +3 8 6 19:11
54 Jordan Harris 4 0 1 -2 2 0 20:22
55 Michael Pezzetta 4 0 1 E 0 5 7:43
56 Jesse Ylonen 3 0 0 +1 0 3 12:32
58 David Savard 1 0 1 +1 0 1 16:54
70 Tanner Pearson 4 1 1 +2 7 11 14:45
71 Jake Evans 4 0 0 +1 2 0 13:37
72 Arber Xhekaj 4 0 1 -2 13 5 17:00
91 Sean Monahan 4 2 1 +1 2 9 18:59


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
30 Cayden Primeau 0-1-0 4.15 .879 0
34 Jake Allen 2-0-0 1.92 .951 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 1-0-0 2.80 .917 0

Shootout – Skaters:

# Player G/ATT
14 Nick Suzuki 1/1
22 Cole Caufield 0/1
91 Sean Monahan 0/1

Shootout – Goalies:

# Player SVS/SF
34 Jake Allen 3/3

Team Leaders:

Goals: Caufield/Monahan (4)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (3)
Points: Cole Caufield (9)
+/-: Kaiden Guhle (+6)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (34)
Shots: Cole Caufield (32)

News And Notes

– There was some good news and bad news on the injury front.  The good is that Kaiden Guhle returned from a concussion.  The bad is that David Savard will miss six to eight weeks with a fractured hand after a memorable penalty kill shift against Buffalo.  Mike Matheson also left Saturday’s game but his absence is believed to be much more short-term.

– Gustav Lindstrom was recalled on an emergency basis when Savard went down.  Upon Guhle’s return, the Habs converted the recall to a regular one.

– Justin Barron is the first Hab defenceman since P.K. Subban to have eight NHL goals before the age of 22.  He’s also the first Hab since Andrei Markov to have three goals in his first five games of the season.

– Cole Caufield is the fastest player in NHL history to score six overtime goals.  He did it in 130 games; the previous record was held by Brayden Point (190 games).

– Mike Matheson became the second-fastest blueliner in team history to reach 40 points, getting there in 56 games dating back to last season.  The record is held by Sprague Cleghorn who did it in 46 games over the 1921-22 and 1922-23 seasons.

Last Game’s Lines:

Caufield – Suzuki – Anderson
Harvey-Pinard – Newhook – Slafkovsky
Pearson – Monahan – Gallagher
Pezzetta – Evans – Armia

Matheson – Kovacevic
Guhle – Barron
Harris – Xhekaj

The Week Ahead

Monday at Vegas – The defending champs are off to a strong start to their season as they’ve yet to lose in regulation, posting a 8-0-1 record so far.  To say that they have a balanced attack so far would be putting it lightly; their leading goal-getters are at three while 18 different players have put the puck in the net.  Adin Hill and Logan Thompson are basically alternating starts right now and both have been among the stronger netminders league-wide in the early going.

Thursday at Arizona – The Coyotes have been decent so far thanks to a stingy defence and some strong performances from Karel Vejmelka in goal.  They’re not exactly easing Logan Cooley into things; the 2022 third-overall pick (two behind Juraj Slafkovsky) is averaging nearly 17 minutes a game so far while he has five assists in his first seven games.  One of their veteran free agent signings will miss this one as Jason Zucker as listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Saturday at St. Louis – On paper, the Blues still have some firepower which makes it surprising that they’re averaging less than two goals per game.  Their goaltending, viewed as a weak spot heading into the year, has actually kept them in games thus far.  At the moment, Brandon Saad is their only player who has more than one goal.  Meanwhile, former Hab Marco Scandella is averaging just 12:22 per night on the back end, a career-low by a considerable margin. 

Final Thought

When the Habs brought up Joel Armia last week, the move made sense on a few fronts.  He had earned the promotion with some good play in Laval, was certainly familiar with Montreal’s systems and strategies, and his name was out there in trade talks as a possible change of scenery type of player (almost certainly in a swap for another overpaid underachiever, not anything of high value).

However, how they’ve used him doesn’t make as much sense.  If you know you’re having trade talks about a player, wouldn’t it make sense to, you know, showcase him?  Armia was on a nice run with Laval to start; why not throw him right in and see if the extra confidence resulted in some early short-term success?  Instead, they mothballed him for more than a week, putting an end to those hopes.

It’s not as if Montreal’s forward lineup is that strong to begin with.  Jesse Ylonen could have an odd night off as he did against Winnipeg.  Michael Pezzetta is hardly irreplaceable and can sit a bit as well.  I’m not saying Armia should have been playing every game but a bunch of healthy scratches after being recalled was the wrong approach to take, especially if they’re trying to do right by the player to try to find him a new home where he could push for a more regular role.  Here’s hoping they find a way to work him in a bit more to help on the trade front if that is indeed a potentially viable option.