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Three points for Juraj Slafkovsky yesterday: as many as Jesperi Kotkaniemi since November
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Last night, the Canadiens crushed the (poor) Anaheim Ducks at the Bell Centre. The 5-0 win over the Ducks will clip the wings of many a chicken in Quebec.

Clearly, the Habs were hungry after being washed out by the Blues on Sunday afternoon. Martin St-Louis’ men took the bull by the horns and won their hockey match.

Do you think my animal references are too numerous at the beginning of this text? Too bad, because I was going to say that Juraj Slafkovsky had eaten a lion and was playing like a beast yesterday…

But jokes aside, I think we can all agree that Slafkovsky was the story of the match yesterday. The fiery duo he formed with Nick Suzuki was simply impressive on the ice.

The captain (two goals and an assist) and the Slovak (one goal and two assists) combined for three goals.

But above all, those who saw the game know that the two were untouchable. They did whatever they wanted on the ice, and the Ducks had their hands full, that was clear.

I wonder if the Coyotes regret their old tweet about drafting Slaf instead of Logan Cooley…

In his last 24 games, Slaf (who many were sending to Laval a few months ago) has still collected 20 points. In particular, he has seven points in four games since returning from the break, demonstrating that he has turned the corner.

Will he make it? That remains to be seen.

Of course, we could compare his offensive production to that of several players. Pierre-Luc Dubois in particular is a candidate for comparison…

But let’s go with Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

I don’t know if you knew, but the Hurricanes’ player has been in very bad shape for a few months now. And when I say really bad, I mean he’s only got three points since the end of November.

Slaf’s three points came just last night. Connor McDavid did it TWICE last night.

KK got a goal against the Flyers on November 28. And from the November 30 game on, it’s been tough for him. He scored on December 19, got an assist on January 5 and collected another on January 11… but that’s it.

His playing time is dropping from game to game for the man who has just 18 points in 52 games this season. And even if his coach defends him, he can’t be happy with his production.

But back to the Canadian.

Once again yesterday, the Habs’ first trio was dominant. All three guys were excellent against the Ducks, both at even strength and with an extra man.

Two goals on the PP yesterday… that’s taking it well.

There’s a lot of talk about Slaf, who picked up two great assists on the captain’s goals and deserves consideration for your pool… but what about the captain? He scored two goals and made a superb backhand pass on Slaf’s goal.

Suzuki now has 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 53 games, which is very close to the point-per-game mark. He leads the Habs in goals, assists and points this season. #NothingToGrave

He has nine points (so six goals) in four games since returning from the break. He also has 14 points in his last eight games, proving more and more his excellent value.

But that’s not all we can take away from yesterday’s game.

What other aspects of yesterday’s game, which must have been very enjoyable for those who took the time to come to the Bell Centre, should be highlighted?

1. We’re talking about Slaf and the captain, but Caufield (one assist) also had a good game. He attempted 15 shots, eight of which were on target. He had his chances throughout the game.

It’s also worth noting that after the game, he met Alex Jodoin, Mr. Poulet Rouge himself. Well done.

2. Brandon Gignac scored his first NHL goal late in the game. Kaiden Guhle handed him the disc as the two converged on the net and the Quebecer scored.

It must be something to do that at the Bell Centre.

3. Cayden Primeau picked up his first NHL shutout. He only had 13 saves to make (in shots, it was 38-13 yesterday) and he stopped them all. It’s sometimes hard to stay focused in such circumstances.

For his first start in nearly a month, it’s hard to ask for more. And since he prevents the Habs from going a year without a shutout (the last one was on February 14, 2023), that’s even more impressive.

4. First goal for Gignac… first shutout for Primeau… it was opening night at the Bell Centre. But they’re not the only ones to have achieved something for the first time.

We can add Jake Evans’ first game-winning goal or Slaf’s first NHL three-point game.

5. At the end of the game, there was a bit of a ruckus. The Ducks players were clearly unable to work their butts off during the game, but preferred to do so once nothing else mattered.

We imagine they were preparing for the next game?

Defenseman Johnathan Kovacevic fought for a third time in the NHL. The last two battles took place last Sunday and last night.

Is he trying to become the Sheriff? Arber Xhekaj also fought yesterday.

6. When Sean Monahan was traded, it was said that the Habs needed to remember what he taught the players. That’s obviously what they’ve done on the first line, which has had no trouble producing even if the other lines are slow.

Note that Monahan has no points in three games in Manitoba.

7. Speaking of Monahan, let’s talk about the man who took his place on the club’s first power play: Alex Newhook. He performs well on that unit, I think.

And with Joshua Roy and Joel Armia, he’s no slouch either.

8. Let’s not get too carried away, since this was a game against one of the NHL’s worst teams. That said, it was a great hockey game.

For those who support the Flanelle, at least.


Now that the Ducks’ game is over, the club can focus on the next game. It takes place tomorrow night in New York against the Rangers.

The club will train at 11 a.m. this morning in Brossard. What’s next? Off to the Big Apple.

I’d be very, very surprised if Samuel Montembeault isn’t in net for the Canadiens. I’d also be surprised if a veteran like Brendan Gallagher, whose suspension is now over, wasn’t back in action.

The only question is who to bring out of the line-up after such a game…

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