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Montreal emerged from the All-Star break with one line firing offensively, helping them to secure one win out of three games.  Meanwhile, the injury bug struck again, taking several youngsters out of the lineup to end things on a sour note.

The Week That Was

Feb. 6: Canadiens 5, Capitals 2 – Montreal got off to a quick start in this one with three goals in the opening period, chasing former Hab Charlie Lindgren fairly quickly.  Washington started to regain control of the game from there but Samuel Montembeault was sharp, allowing the Habs to maintain their lead the rest of the way with Juraj Slafkovsky scoring twice in the third to help lock in the victory.

Feb. 10: Stars 3, Canadiens 2 – After a very defensive opening 20 minutes, the floodgates opened up in the second with all five goals coming in that frame.  The Habs had a rough stretch after Nick Suzuki opened the scoring with Dallas scoring twice in a 24-second stretch, then adding one late that stood up as the winner.  Considering the Stars are one of the top teams and Montreal is in the middle of a rebuild, they put up a reasonable effort despite the loss.

Feb. 11: Blues 7, Canadiens 2 – In this game, the effort wasn’t there, pretty much from start to finish.  Jake Allen got the nod against his former team and didn’t do anything to help his trade value as he allowed a few that were of the rough variety.  Of course, it’s not as if he had much goal support either which has been common for him this season.  Torey Krug had five assists while Robert Thomas had a four-point game to pace St. Louis.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
8 Mike Matheson 3 0 5 +3 4 6 27:12
14 Nick Suzuki 3 4 2 +2 2 6 21:29
15 Alex Newhook 2 0 0 +1 0 6 17:26
17 Josh Anderson 3 0 0 -6 0 2 14:40
20 Juraj Slafkovsky 3 3 1 +3 4 8 18:59
21 Kaiden Guhle 3 0 0 E 2 3 22:35
22 Cole Caufield 3 0 2 +3 0 11 18:15
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 3 0 0 -1 7 1 15:12
40 Joel Armia 3 1 0 +1 2 11 17:40
47 Jayden Struble 3 0 1 -1 14 4 17:40
49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 2 0 1 +1 0 1 9:18
54 Jordan Harris 1 0 0 -1 0 0 1:34
55 Michael Pezzetta 3 1 0 +1 2 1 9:43
56 Jesse Ylonen 3 0 0 -1 0 3 9:37
58 David Savard 3 0 1 -2 0 3 21:34
70 Tanner Pearson 3 0 0 -4 6 3 13:50
71 Jake Evans 3 0 1 -3 4 1 16:00
72 Arber Xhekaj 2 0 1 -1 0 2 13:11
74 Brandon Gignac 3 0 0 -1 0 4 13:05
82 Lucas Condotta 1 0 0 +1 0 1 10:34
89 Joshua Roy 1 0 0 E 0 1 11:28


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
34 Jake Allen 0-1-0 7.00 .806 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 1-1-0 2.53 .935 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Caufield/Suzuki (17)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (31)
Points: Nick Suzuki (48)
+/-: Johnathan Kovacevic (+6)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (53)
Shots: Cole Caufield (188)

News And Notes

– The Habs got some good news on the injury front with Alex Newhook being activated off IR; Lucas Condotta was sent down to open up the roster spot.  with the other four injured players being done for the year, this was as healthy as they were going to be for the rest of the season. 

– That ‘full’ health lasted 23 minutes.  Rafael Harvey-Pinard suffered a lower-body injury against Dallas that will keep him out for four-to-six weeks.  Meanwhile, defencemen Jordan Harris and Kaiden Guhle were injured versus St. Louis.  (This is where carrying an extra goalie and having a suspended winger is really hurting from an available roster spot standpoint.)

– Joshua Roy was recalled from Laval to take Harvey-Pinard’s spot on the roster as he was quickly moved to injured reserve.

– It’s safe to say Jesse Ylonen is due for a goal.  He is now goalless in his last 32 games.

Last Game’s Lines:

Caufield – Suzuki – Slafkovsky
Pearson – Evans – Anderson
Roy – Newhook – Armia
Pezzetta – Gignac – Ylonen

Matheson – Guhle
Struble – Savard
Harris – Kovacevic

The Week Ahead

Feb. 13: vs Anaheim – The Ducks got off to a surprisingly decent start to their season but have dropped to being in the Macklin Celebrini sweepstakes as everyone expected them to be.  Frank Vatrano has been a bright spot as he has 22 goals already while Leo Carlsson, the number two pick in June, has impressed when healthy.  Anaheim is dealing with some injuries at the moment including Trevor Zegras and Alex Killorn while John Gibson was injured in their last game on Friday.  His status for this game isn’t known yet.

Feb. 15: at NY Rangers – Despite Igor Shesterkin posting a save percentage that matches Cayden Primeau’s, New York sits atop the Metropolitan Division.  They feature a very balanced attack up front including Alexis Lafreniere who has taken a nice step forward under new head coach Peter Laviolette.  Former Hab Erik Gustafsson has been a nice addition, sitting second in points by a blueliner behind only Adam Fox.

Feb. 17: vs Washington – Not much has changed for the Capitals since these two teams met earlier in the week.  Evgeny Kuznetsov is now away from the team as he entered the Player Assistance Program for the second time; the game against the Habs was the first game he missed.  Alex Ovechkin has rediscovered his scoring touch, scoring in five straight games while taking over the team lead in points.

Final Thought

This past week, Martin St. Louis passed the two-year mark as Montreal’s head coach and somehow is now in the top ten for the longest-tenured coaches in the NHL.  Seriously; he’s tenth.  Hiring him was a scenario that few thought was possible when Dominique Ducharme was let go in 2022 but Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton elected to take a chance on him.  I think they’re pleased with how things have gone since then.

From a win-loss perspective, it hasn’t been pretty.  But that was going to be the case whoever they put behind the bench.  What has been promising to see is the top line taking some steps forward in their offensive development, providing some hope for the future that there’s a foundation up front to work off of.  Meanwhile, the young defence has had many more good moments than bad, again, providing hope that this group, once augmented by some of the youngsters in the system, could be a strong spot for years to come.

That’s really the hallmark of the last two seasons under St. Louis – hope.  As fans, we hope that the young core is developing into one that can be a playoff contender in the somewhat near future.  But there’s also the hope that St. Louis can continue to improve as a head coach.  He has been overmatched at times when it comes to in-game matchups which is to be expected for a first-time NHL coach.  But is he the coach to lead the Habs out of this rebuild and into contention or simply through the bumpy years?  At this point, the jury’s out on that one; the hope is that he’s the long-term fit. 

We’ll probably get a sense of where management is leaning this summer as St. Louis will be in the last year of his contract next season and many teams like to avoid the ‘lame duck’ scenario.  Will it be a short-term extension or a long-term one?  The former will show some hesitance on his long-term fit while the latter would obviously be a vote of confidence that he’ll be the one to take them into the better years.  But in terms of getting the Habs through this rough patch, so far, so good when it comes to St. Louis’ performance.