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Joel Armia is the Canadiens’ fourth leading scorer

At the start of the season, Joel Armia was sent to the Laval Rocket. Of course, no one claimed him in the waivers, as you’d expect.

He did well down there, got called back, ate popcorn in the press gallery (I don’t know if he really did, but that’s all he had to do), played a bit, went back to Laval, came back to town, warmed up the bench… and now he’s playing regularly.

I don’t know if he’s playing regularly simply because he’s running out of guys to dress up front. But one thing’s for sure: these days, the formula works for him.

Has he figured something out? Has he switched cereal brands in the morning? I don’t know. But let’s just say that for the past two games, we can’t complain too much.

I know, I know: it’s a small sample. That said, it’s better than nothing, isn’t it? And so much the better if another team looks at it and decides- okay, I’ll stop making things up.

Honestly, after playing well on Saturday against the Oilers and setting a season-high for playing time (close to 18 minutes), he outdid himself yesterday. He got almost 20 minutes on the ice.

And deservedly so. After all, he gave his all on the ice. His effort on the winning goal(in a 4-3 win over Colorado) is a good example. He looked like Rafaël Harvey-Pinard or Brendan Gallagher the way he acted… and that’s a good thing.

His efforts helped the Canadiens win, and he was the game’s second star.

After the game, Martin St-Louis said he wanted consistency in his game (obviously), but he was satisfied with what he was bringing to the table right now. In particular, he noted his leadership qualities when he went to Laval.

And on this subject, this morning on BPM Sports, Renaud Lavoie told an anecdote. He said that during Saturday’s game, when Joshua Roy was making his NHL debut, Armia turned to the youngster on the bench to give him some advice.

That’s not the house custom, let’s say.

Did Armia do it because Roy had played with him earlier in the season for the Rocket? Who knows. But he did it, which is good and profitable for the club.

In any case, Joel Armia currently has seven goals, making him the club’s fourth-highest scorer.

(Credit: Hockey DB)

He’s tied with Josh Anderson, Alex Newhook and Brendan Gallagher. Of the lot, only Newhook (23 games) has played fewer games than Armia, whose tally stands at 27. But still: it’s all very well for the Finn.

Granted, he doesn’t have a pass yet this year, and his 7-0 record would be excellent for a Major League pitcher… but one step at a time.

Joel Armia isn’t the only player who deserves attention this morning, however, as several of his teammates were also excellent during the game.

So, what’s on my mind?

1. Jake Allen won a hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche. He ended the Habs’ three-game losing streak – three games in which he didn’t play.

In fact, Allen hadn’t played since January 4. He had not played in his team’s last four games and had not tasted victory since December 18 in Winnipeg.

Yesterday was his first win at the Bell Centre since… October. It won’t make teams suddenly want to give their best hope in return for his services, but it feels good.

Allen made 29 saves, including taking his game up a notch in the third, when the club needed it. Hats off to him.

2. The first trio of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky was excellent. The guys stood up to the Avalanche, which isn’t exactly a small challenge.

After the Oilers’ challenge, the Avalanche’s was just as big. The coach is proud of the good habits the guys are developing.

And yesterday, it paid off. Suzuki (21:24 of playing time, two assists, 65.4% face-off efficiency), Caufield (a power-play goal and an assist, 20:17 of playing time) and Slaf (also a power-play goal, six shots on goal, 18:10 of playing time) looked like a true first trio.

Since Saturday, the guys have been playing big minutes against two of the best players in the world. The same goes for Mike Matheson (28+ minutes last night) and Kaiden Guhle, for that matter.

3. The group’s effort was on display in every phase of the game, from check-forwards to face-offs. Is it a coincidence that Rafaël Harvey-Pinard was able to stand out during the match? I don’t believe in chance.

He scored his first of the year – and he looked relieved – as well as sacrificing his body for the cause. He also stabilizes the club’s defensive play, which is excellent.

4. After 40 minutes of play, the shots were 26-26. The Avalanche took one more shot (9 to 8) in the third, but I didn’t expect it to be close in this game. And yet…

I don’t know what happens when the Habs play a good club, but they’re getting good. That’s a good sign for the 2026 playoffs.

5. Jonathan Drouin made his return to the Bell Centre. He quickly set the tone with an assist on his team’s first goal and played over 27 minutes. 27!

He was booed during the game, but applauded when there was no action.

6. Last night was Pride night in Montreal. And let’s just say that Gary Bettman succeeded in his bet: nobody talks about it when the jerseys aren’t worn during warm-up.

There was some rainbow ribbon during warm-up, but nothing more.

7. Yesterday morning, Kent Hughes spoke to the media. He talked about Cole Caufield’s start to the season and he scored. He talked about his goalies and Jake Allen won. He talked about the club’s depth and that made the difference.

In my opinion, Martin St-Louis is going to want to see him talk more often…


After two horrible games against bad teams and two big outings against powerhouses, it’s fair to wonder which Habs will take to the road.

Because yes, the Habs will practice at 11 a.m. this morning before heading to New Jersey for tomorrow’s game. Three road games (New Jersey, Ottawa and Boston) are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the health of Jesse Ylönen, who didn’t finish last night’s game. We’ll also be keeping an eye on whether Josh Anderson and Tanner Pearson will be able to train with the group.

Let’s not forget that if there’s congestion up front, Joshua Roy, who wasn’t the most visible of the men yesterday, could/should be out.

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