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Canada starts 2024 with a bang

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Canada starts 2024 with a bang
Tonight, the Canadiens were in New Jersey to take on the Devils. After two good performances against the Oilers and the Avalanche, we wondered if the Habs would be able to keep up the momentum.

For the occasion, it was Samuel Montembeault in front of the Tricolore net. Here’s the rest of the line-up.

As for the Devils, the team was still without the services of Jack Hughes, but Timo Meier made a return to action.

Here’s the complete line-up, featuring two former Habs in Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tierney.

We wondered if the Habs would come out strong… and even if it was laborious early in the first period, it was still the Tricolore who found the back of the net first.

A magnificent pass from Cole Caufield allowed Juraj Slafkovský to open the scoring.

At the end of the period, Kaiden Guhle took a penalty for a high stick on Timo Meier.

You’re free to make up your own mind about the gesture… but I’m inclined to think that Meier deserves an Oscar for his performance.

After 20 minutes, the score was 1-0 in favor of the Habs.

At the start of the second period, Samuel Montembeault continued the excellent work he’d started in the first period, finding the back of the net on more than one occasion.

He’s really on fire.

And speaking of guys on fire, Joshua Roy had an excellent first period. The Quebecer did it again with a good second period… and his efforts were rewarded.

Sean Monahan’s generosity (and Simon Nemec’s poor defensive play) allowed Roy to score his first career NHL goal.

After 40 minutes, the score was 2-0 in favor of the Tricolore.

The problem was that late in the second period, Nick Suzuki took a four-minute penalty, so the Devils went into the third period with a one-man advantage.

You guessed it: the Devils made sure the Habs paid, scoring two goals to bring the score to 2-2. Luke Hughes and Alexander Holtz were the scorers.

There were chances on both sides… but it wasn’t until late in the third period that one team took the lead.

And in the end, it was Cole Caufield’s goal that put the Habs back in front. He’s on fire again, this one: he now has six points from his last four games.

The Devils pulled their goalie late in the game, and despite some good chances, the Tricolore managed to hold the fort.

A huge blocked shot from Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, among others, sealed the game for the Habs.

Final score: 3-2 Montreal

The Canadiens return to action tomorrow, when they travel to Ottawa to take on the poor Senators.

Overtime

– The Habs didn’t have a perfect game tonight, but at even strength, they were pretty solid. The club really needs to avoid penalties considering its horrible short-handed performance, but at 5v5, it’s encouraging to see.

– Cole Caufield (23) isn’t much older, either. Youth put on a show in Montreal tonight.

– Joshua Roy had (by far) his best NHL game tonight. His first two games felt a little more timid and self-effacing, but today he took charge and we saw him play up to his talent. There will be difficult moments as he adapts to the best league in the world (and that’s perfectly normal), but the potential is obvious when you watch him play.

– Hats off to whoever predicted this.

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