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The Canadiens are two points away from a playoff spot
Last night, the Canadiens took on the Seattle Kraken in Montreal. On paper, this is a team that could clearly be beaten, since in reality, the club is not having a good season.

Seattle came to Montreal with 22 points in 25 games, which is not up to expectations.

And clearly, those who saw the game know that the Canadiens, who won by a score of 4-2, took the opportunity to play a good game. The Montreal club was involved and the guys did what they had to do.

In my opinion, the players wanted to give the Canadiens a magnificent 114th anniversary. I can’t think of any other logical theory.

But hey. Joking aside, there was a lot of commitment on the ice, and picking up the W after Saturday’s loss to Detroit seemed important for Martin St-Louis’ men.

It happened – and so much the better for the club.

In spite of everything, it still has a major impact on the standings. But why? Because, despite injuries and the pitfalls of a rebuilding club, the Montreal club is on the verge of the playoffs.

Right now, the Flanelle are just two points away from the playoffs.


Note that to make the playoffs, you’d have to get past four clubs (the Penguins, Islanders, Capitals and Lightning), and most clubs have one or more games in hand on the CH.

Would I put $2 on the club? No. Odds are that the club, if it continues to play like this for a while, will remain stuck in No Man’s Land, effectively.

(Credit: Tankathon)

But at least the lads played well yesterday.

The theme of the game, you’ll agree, was redemption. Before the game, four guys were in the middle of a huge sequence without finding the back of the net… and three of them ended up scoring.

Jake Evans, who has been promoted, is next on the list.

Seeing Sean Monahan score his first goal in 15 games (he scored two, actually) is a good sign. The same goes for Tanner Pearson, who would have passed the 20-game mark without finding the back of the net had it not been for his goal yesterday.

But we all agree that it’s Josh Anderson’s goal, scored in an empty net, that really catches the eye.

The man who hadn’t scored since last season finally scored when there was no goalkeeper left in the opposing cage, but no matter, he got rid of the monkey who seemed to be enjoying himself on his shoulders… and the guys were obviously happy for him.

The guy was obviously putting a lot of pressure on himself to score, which is normal. But despite that, he played involved hockey and made some nice passes, in particular.

Hopefully, now that the pressure’s off his shoulders, he’ll have the strength to score one in a cage protected by a goalkeeper. And from there, everything can happen quickly.

But hey.

In fact, that’s not all that should be retained from the duel with the Kraken. What do I remember about this game, which was the Habs’ second in December?

1. Samuel Montembeault was excellent. The Canadiens’ #1 goalie (let’s not mince words) turned aside 31 of the Kraken’s 33 shots.

The first goal he let in was predictable, since the guys had been stuck on the ice for about three minutes: they’d run out of gas. And the other goal was scored when the CH were shorthanded.

Montembeault was spectacular on several occasions. He was able to demonstrate that he clearly deserves to be trusted when he’s on the ice defending his team’s cage.

But we can still expect his next game to be next week, in a ménage à trois. It’s getting more and more ridiculous, but c’est la vie… and it could hurt in April. #ResultsLeague

2. Are we going to talk about Juraj Slafkovsky for a while? Yes, we are.

The first-team winger looked good in yesterday’s game. He looked like he belonged on the first unit, not just supplementing it, as we’ve seen too often from boys who play with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

Did Slaf blacken the score sheet? No.

But he’s been using his nose in front of the opposition’s net, and his confidence is in the toilet. He got some playing time with an extra man, and his decision-making was spot on, according to the coach.

3. Brendan Gallagher, playing in his 700th NHL game, was involved and gave his coach some good hockey. He really seems to be reliving this season.

Good for the CH.

4. Justin Barron was the fourth most-used defenseman, with 19:50. Johnathan Kovacevic (20:55) played more than him on the right.

Of course, Kaiden Guhle and Mike Matheson, who played more than 25 minutes each, were both the skaters most used by the coach. Hats off to Jake Evans and his 19:43…


The Canadiens’ next game is on Thursday. For the occasion, we’ll be treated to an all-Quebec duel against the Quebec Los Angeles Kings. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Phillip Danault are likely to be in town for the occasion.

Cayden Primeau is expected to be in the starting line-up, as the goaltending rotation has been installed and it’s now his turn to defend the Montreal Canadiens’ cage.

Note that if Sean Monahan plays on Thursday (or any other game this season), he will be entitled to a $15,000 bonus at the end of the season. It’s in his contract: he has to play at least 26 games, one more than last year, to get it.

To prepare for Thursday’s game, the CH will train at 11:30 this morning. Afterwards, the players will visit hospitals in the afternoon. I invite you to make your Youppi! joke on this subject…

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