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The Habs capped off the back half of their tough road trip with a split before putting up a decent effort against Toronto in their first game back although they ultimately came up short.

The Week That Was

Mar. 5: Canadiens 4, Predators 3 (OT) – While Nashville doesn’t have the deepest of rosters on paper, they were the hottest team in the league coming into this one.  Second periods are usually the trouble spot for the Habs but this time, they pulled off a two-goal comeback to tie it up heading to the third.  Ryan O’Reilly restored Nashville’s lead but Joshua Roy got that one back soon after to force overtime.  After Montreal failed to score on a late power play, they were able to score seconds after as Nick Suzuki one-timed it home to get the win.

Mar. 7: Hurricanes 4, Canadiens 1 – For the bulk of two periods, the Habs were right in this one.  But a goal from Stefan Noesen late in the second got Carolina the lead and things started to unravel from there.  Roy’s second of the game in the third was undone by a goalie interference call and after Montreal squandered a power play soon after, the Hurricanes were off to the races from there and took control of the game to secure the victory.

Mar. 9: Maple Leafs 3, Canadiens 2 – Mike Matheson opened the scoring in the first minute of the game but Bobby McCann scored in the first minute of the second to tie it up.  Montreal’s struggles in the middle stanza continued when Max Domi gave Toronto the lead late in the frame.  Alex Newhook tied it up with a power play goal in the third but Toronto got a late goal when John Tavares potted a rebound and despite a late power play for the Habs, they weren’t able to muster up much of an attempt to tie it up.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
8 Mike Matheson 3 1 2 -2 0 6 26:51
11 Brendan Gallagher 3 1 0 -1 2 7 13:23
14 Nick Suzuki 3 1 1 -3 0 6 21:42
15 Alex Newhook 3 1 1 E 4 5 17:04
17 Josh Anderson 3 0 1 -1 7 3 13:21
20 Juraj Slafkovsky 3 0 2 -3 0 5 19:16
21 Kaiden Guhle 3 0 0 -1 2 5 19:54
22 Cole Caufield 3 0 3 -3 0 14 20:08
40 Joel Armia 3 0 0 E 0 5 15:35
47 Jayden Struble 3 0 0 -3 0 1 14:38
49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 3 0 0 -1 0 2 10:33
54 Jordan Harris 3 0 0 -3 2 2 16:25
55 Michael Pezzetta 1 0 0 -1 0 1 6:45
56 Jesse Ylonen 2 0 0 E 2 1 11:30
58 David Savard 3 1 0 +1 2 4 19:29
70 Tanner Pearson 3 0 0 -1 0 4 10:08
71 Jake Evans 3 0 1 -1 2 1 15:57
72 Arber Xhekaj 3 0 0 +1 2 9 17:43
89 Joshua Roy 3 2 0 +1 0 5 13:14


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
34 Jake Allen 1-0-0 2.99 .893 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 0-2-0 3.07 .908 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Nick Suzuki (25)
Assists: Mike Matheson (37)
Points: Nick Suzuki (61)
+/-: Johnathan Kovacevic (+9)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (67)
Shots: Cole Caufield (244)

News And Notes

– Rafael Harvey-Pinard was able to come back a bit sooner than expected from his lower-body injury and was activated off injured reserve.  To make room on the roster, Colin White (upper body) was placed on IR.  He’s eligible to be activated for their game on Tuesday and that seems likely to be the case, giving them four centres again.

– While he wasn’t on injured reserve, Jayden Struble also returned from his lower-body injury.  Johnathan Kovacevic came out of the lineup to make room for him.

– Struble and Joshua Roy were both sent down to Laval before the trade deadline and then recalled right after.  Doing so keeps them eligible to play for the Rocket down the stretch and potentially into the playoffs if they qualify.  It also burns two of Montreal’s four post-deadline regular recalls.

– The Habs made one move on trade deadline day, flipping Jake Allen to New Jersey for a conditional third-round pick in 2025; Allen waived his no-trade clause to accept the move.  We’ll have more on the swap during the week.

Last Game’s Lines:

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

Matheson – Guhle
Xhekaj – Savard
Struble – Harris

The Week Ahead

Tuesday vs Columbus – It has been a rocky year for the Blue Jackets who, instead of battling for a playoff spot as they were hoping to do, are tied for last in the East, four points behind Montreal.  They’re missing two of their top youngsters with Adam Fantilli and Kent Johnson done for the year so there isn’t even the silver lining of some of the prospects getting extra playing time.  They were relatively quiet at the trade deadline, moving out veteran centre Jack Roslovic and defenceman Andrew Peeke, a player who had been a frequent healthy scratch.

Thursday vs Boston – From one extreme to the next in the standings as the Bruins are in the mix for first in the league.  Despite losing Patrice Bergeron off the top line, David Pastrnak hasn’t slowed down one bit as he’s fourth in the league in scoring while their goalie tandem of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark continues to be one of the best.  There are conflicting reports that they had a move in place to split up that tandem, however, with Ullmark reportedly being swapped before he invoked his no-trade protection.

Saturday at Calgary – The final West Coast trip of the season begins against the Flames, a team who has done plenty of selling since the teams last met.  They still have Jacob Markstrom, however, and he has shown himself to be more than capable of stealing games.  Yegor Sharangovich and Blake Coleman are their leading goal-scorers with 26 apiece while former Hab Joel Hanley recently joined them via waivers.

Final Thought

When the Habs had three goaltenders, they did a decent job at keeping Cayden Primeau and Jake Allen somewhat fresh, giving them a start every couple of weeks at least; they didn’t want them to sit too long.  That made a lot of sense despite those clamouring for Samuel Montembeault to get the bulk of the workload.

Interestingly enough, it feels like Martin St. Louis and the coaching staff don’t necessarily feel the same way when it comes to his skaters.  Jesse Ylonen has sat for several stretches of consecutive games.  So has Johnathan Kovacevic.  Michael Pezzetta just went three weeks between games and he wasn’t even injured.  Part of the value of having decent depth available is that no skater should have to sit for too long.  But Montreal hasn’t been operating that way too much, opting to give a player a few consecutive games rather than spotting them in and out.

Personally, I’d prefer to see them subbed in more regularly but I get the logic behind this approach.  It’s hard to perform when you’re of the belief that one mistake will get you benched.  If you have the comfort level that you’ll be in there for a bit, you’ll play more freely.  With Pezzetta back in, it’ll be interesting to see how long it will be before Ylonen makes it back into the lineup as it’s now Pezzetta’s turn to get an extended look.  Or, who knows, maybe we’ll see more injuries soon enough which will end this approach on its own.