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After a game with huge emotional swings on Monday that featured the Lane Hutson debut alongside a spectacular comeback win for the Red Wings that saved their season, Montreal and Detroit were right back in action on Tuesday night. This was the Habs’ last game of the season while the Wings were hoping it wasn’t theirs. Even with a win, the Red Wings were betrayed by a Capitals win as they failed to qualify for the playoffs. The Canadiens were the better team through the first 40 minutes, but much like Monday, Detroit’s desperation showed in the third as they were able to complete a second straight comeback victory, this time by a 5-4 score in the shootout. 

Montreal’s Lines

Cole Caufield — Nick Suzuki — Juraj Slafkovsky
Brendan Gallagher – Alex Newhook – Joel Armia
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Jake Evans — Josh Anderson
Michael Pezzetta — Christian Dvorak — Tanner Pearson 

Mike Matheson — Logan Mailloux
Lane Hutson – David Savard
Jayden Struble – Justin Barron 

Cayden Primeau 

10 Thoughts

1) If Hutson’s debut was fun, watching his second game alongside Mailloux’s debut was double the fun. Both players were noticeable in a positive way. For all the noise about both of their defensive shortcomings, I was pleasantly surprised by both of them. I really appreciated Mailloux away from the puck as his ability to be physical is a welcome addition. There was a buzz in the entire building every time Hutson touched the puck, it was very exciting stuff heading into next season. I just hope management does right by the kid and doesn’t play him in Montreal if he’s not ready just because of the hype in the building. 

2) On Monday, Detroit came out nervous which allowed the Habs to jump in and grab an early lead. It was much of the same on this night as the Habs were all over the Wings early. Slafkovsky and Caufield worked a give-and-go that missed because Slafkovsky was surprised by the return pass. Mailloux, like Hutson, was able to grab a first assist early as he completed a strong breakout that created a 2-on-1 where Gallagher found Newhook who scored the game’s first goal. 

3) After a scary play where J.T. Compher took a skate to the face, the Red Wings were able to tie the game before the end of the period. An egregious pass by Savard up the middle in the defensive zone opened the door for a Moritz Seider point shot that was a bit of a knuckle puck that fooled Primeau. 

4) The second period didn’t start as well as Anderson was guilty of a turnover at the defensive blue line which ended with a post being hit behind Primeau. The Suzuki line calmed the waters as they went to work and really dominated a few shifts. Detroit had no answer as they were lucky to get out unscathed and unpenalized as they likely deserved two or three calls on the sequence, but the officials evened that out later in unfortunate spots. 

5) The Canadiens scored two in a row as Armia completed a beautiful toe drag to enter the offensive zone. His shot was trickling behind James Reimer when Gallagher tapped it home. Moments later, it was Suzuki’s turn to pull off a toe drag on Seider before he found Slafkovsky for a one-timer. Reimer made a nice save but Caufield was all over the rebound and made it 3-1. 

6) The end of the second period was crazy as the Wings started to put everything on net and the Canadiens had no answer as they watched the puck Plinko around their zone. Finally, one such bouncing puck came in on Primeau and handcuffed him. He lost track of the rebound and as he looked left, Joe Veleno put one home to make it a one-goal game. Mailloux being in the right spot at the right time to get a scoring chance led to the game’s only true penalty. As the penalty was ending, Lucas Raymond cleared the puck into the stands, so Montreal’s advantage was essentially a four-minute one. They didn’t score but looked good. I would have liked to see Mailloux out with Hutson to utilize his shot on that second power play unit, but I understand why it didn’t happen.

7) As one would expect, Detroit came out on a torrid pace to start the third. The Canadiens were weathering the storm until Daniel Sprong was able to beat Primeau from behind the net. Back to square one for a Montreal team that had been the better team for two periods. 

8) With seven minutes to play, Hutson dangled at the offensive blue line, and it completely froze the Red Wings’ defenders. He finally released a shot and Slafkovsky tipped it home for his 20th goal of the season, earning himself a $250,000 bonus. 

9) Detroit looked like they were out of miracles, but Savard tried for the empty-net goal and ended up getting called for icing with 7.7 seconds left. The Habs won the ensuing faceoff but could not clear the zone. David Perron’s point shot had eyes as the Red Wings tied it with 4.1 seconds to play to send the game to overtime. 

10) After a Dylan Larkin breakaway was stopped by Primeau, the officials called a tripping penalty on Patrick Kane that wasn’t called for most of the night. A tough call for the Red Wings but they once again survived bringing the game to the shootout. The shootout saw Reimer stop all of Caufield, Hutson, and Suzuki while Primeau made excellent stops on Larkin and Raymond before Kane put home the winner to end the season. 

HabsWorld Habs 3 Stars

1st Star – Juraj Slafkovsky 

I know all the hype will rightfully be around Hutson and Mailloux on this night, but how about that 1st overall bust who storms back in the second half of the season, solidifies the top line into one that will be worried about around the league for the next decade, and posts a smooth 20-goal campaign. The best might be yet to come in his case, but man was he fun to watch in the second half of the season, and tonight was no exception. A two-point effort for him. 

Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, even, 3 shots, 1 hit, 22:55 T.O.I.  

2nd Star – Lane Hutson 

He made a few fun plays in the offensive zone, but the play on the Slafkovsky goal where he basically freezes everyone on the ice while sitting on the offensive blue line was something special, wasn’t it? As mentioned above, I hope he gets time in Laval if that’s what he needs, and that fans and media don’t cause him to be rushed. If he stays in Montreal next year, it might be really fun though. 

Stats: 1 assist, -1, 2 shots, 1 hit, 23:32 T.O.I. 

3rd Star – Brendan Gallagher 

What I’m about to say about Gallagher can also be said of Armia. We got to the middle of the season, and everyone was ready to buy out these two players. They were both some of Montreal’s best players in the second half of the season, so much so that if they form a third line with Newhook to start next season, would anyone really be that upset? (I’m assuming Roy-Dach and a free agent signing or trade acquisition form the second line.) 

Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2, 4 shots, 1 hit, 14:28 T.O.I.