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In 2024, Josh Anderson has to play like he did last night.

It was obvious that Josh Anderson’s first goal of the season was going to give him wings, and we’ve seen that in recent games.

The forward has regained his confidence and is playing good hockey. But on the other hand…

Last night in Tampa, we saw the Josh Anderson of the 2021 series. And it felt really good.

Anderson was flying all over the rink: he was effective in forechecking, he disturbed opponents all game long…

Above all, the forward used his physique and speed to destabilize opposing defenders, which is his specialty.

Erik Cernak paid the price:

No one is asking Anderson to score 40 goals a season.

It’s not his job and in any case, it would be asking too much of him.

But if Anderson can find a way to deliver that effort night after night, the Habs will end up with a wicked good hockey player on their hands.

Remember, this time last year, how popular his name was across the NHL. He was touted as a true power forward who could contribute offensively when needed, and God knows, such players are rare in the NHL.

It’s not for nothing that we kept praising him. And we’re finally recognizing the Anderson we used to see.

And that’s good news.

All this to say that Josh Anderson played a good game last night. But aside from #17’s performance, what else caught the eye?

1. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield were hungry as lions.

Caufield was involved as never before. He played like he had a knife between his teeth and both forwards looked good all evening.

Tit-Cole was even rewarded for putting on his work boots to go into the pay zones.

He took a puck away from Steven Stamkos and scored his 10th goal of the season. To see him score two goals in two games is a great relief, both for him and for the fans.

2. Justin Barron has been struggling lately, but he played a more complete game last night.

He was good because he kept things simple. He didn’t try to do too much, as he sometimes does, and the results were there.

If that helps him understand certain things…

3. Johnathan Kovacevic’s goal was simply impossible to miss.

It’s clearly one of the wackiest sequences in NHL history, after all. You should have seen my face when the puck entered the net!

All the Habs players thought it was pretty funny… While the Lightning bench laughed a little less.

But what a bizarre sequence:

4. Overall, Martin St-Louis’ men played a good game.

It was their second game in as many nights, but they delivered the goods with a good effort.

By the middle of the game, the total shots were 14-6 in the Habs’ favor…

It also shows how well the Habs started the game.

5. The Lightning’s machine… Let’s just say it’s well-oiled.

Last night we saw why Nikita Kucherov is sitting atop the NHL’s scoring charts right now. The Bolts star was dominant offensively, and Victor Hedman’s performance on the other side of the net was also noteworthy.

The big defender had quite a game.

6. Yesterday’s defeat means that the Canadiens are now six points away from a playoff spot.

At present, the Lightning and Islanders occupy the last two spots in the East for the spring tournament:



The Canadiens announced after the game that there would be a day off today, January 1, 2024.

The club’s next game is tomorrow in Dallas.

Happy New Year, by the way!

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