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Both Montreal teams put on a good show last night
Last night, the Montreal Canadiens were in Dallas. They won their match against the Stars 4-3.

If I wanted to be the funniest person on earth, I’d say the Habs are still undefeated this year. But since I don’t aspire to be the funniest person in the universe, I won’t say it.

We’ll come back to this, but the Habs finally won their first game since Christmas.

Why do I say we’ll come back to it? Because yesterday, hockey fans in Montreal didn’t just have the Habs to watch if they wanted to see good quality pro hockey.

It was also the debut of Montreal’s PWHL club.

In fact, Montreal was in Ottawa, and the game really got people talking. I have a feeling there was more talk about the women’s club than the men’s on Twitter. Normally, that’s not the case.

With a record crowd in Ottawa for a women’s pro hockey game (8,318 fans), it felt like the buzz was there. [Insert joke about the Arizona Coyotes and their many fans here].

Was it because of the novelty effect? Of course, that’s part of the answer, yes. But the good news is that the fans who were there were treated to quite a show, and will surely want to return to see more games.

Montreal won its match 3-2. The pace was good, the action was great, and Ann-Sophie Bettez put the game away with a dramatic overtime goal. What more could you ask for?

Of necessity, this diluted interest in the Habs’ game. But I guess seeing Martin St-Louis’ men play a good game probably helped rally fans in front of their TVs.

And that’s even if it got off to a bad start, courtesy of a Mike Matheson who’s had his ups and (mostly?) downs in recent weeks.

That’s the great thing about the Habs of 2023-2024: nothing’s over. The guys didn’t let the fact that the Stars took the lead 11 seconds into the game get them down.

They fought and it made for a great hockey game. Here’s what I remember about the game:

1. It seems to be a recurring theme, but Juraj Slafkovsky really seems to be gaining confidence on the first line. He picked up an assist yesterday – and deserves a sticker in his Canada book for his play on Jordan Harris’ goal – and he was still playing with confidence.

He got over 19 minutes of playing time (due in part to the fact that the Habs finished the game with 10 forwards) and was excellent.

Note that his entire trio was good. Cole Caufield (on the power play) found the back of the net for the 11th time this season and for the third time in three games.

And Nick Suzuki? One goal, one assist.

But more than that. He’s got nine points in his last seven games (that’s seven road games), collecting at least one point in six of them. And before that, he had seven points in seven games to start December.

He currently has 34 points in 37 games this season.

2. My colleague Raphael Simard put in a good word last night, but Josh Anderson didn’t finish the game. He took several hits, including one that ended his game.

In a game where the Habs were playing with 11 forwards, let’s just say it complicated the coach‘s task.

Don’t expect to hear anything from Anderson today, as the Habs are off. That said, when you see the way he’s been injured, you have to expect the worst.

Stay tuned.

3. Samuel Montembeault was good during the game. He held the fort, making 32 saves on 35 shots against an excellent NHL team. The result was his first win since mid-December against the Islanders.

He was tested late in the game, giving away two goals as the Habs tried to limit the damage. It wasn’t easy for anyone, but Montembeault and his teammates held their own… and gained some experience in the process.

4. Jayden Struble (18:15) was the third defenseman (out of seven) most used by his coach. Mike Matheson (20:42) and Kaiden Guhle (19:17), two other left-handers, were used more.

Even David Savard (17:50) played less than Struble. I understand that with Jordan Harris playing on the right, that’s four guys instead of three… but still: it says a lot about confidence in Struble.


The Habs end their seven-game road trip with three wins, three losses and an overtime defeat. The Habs got five points out of six before Christmas, lost all three games at the end of December 2023 and won yesterday.

At the end of the day, playing for .500 on a trip like this is worth it.

The Habs will be off today after an exhausting trip, which is well deserved. Martin St-Louis’ men will be back in action tomorrow, when the Sabres are in town. So we’ll have to wait and see who will inevitably be recalled from Laval.

From January 4 to 15, the Habs will be playing mainly at home. The only exception? A short trip to Philly next week.

(Credit: Google)

With yesterday’s win, the Habs find themselves five points out of the playoffs and the Capitals, who are in the chair of the last club entitled to a ticket to the spring tournament. Four clubs are between the Habs and the Caps, though.

On the other hand, Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton have a 6.5% chance of winning the draft lottery. #ForCelebrini

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