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“Two points too many” or not, Martin St-Louis has reason to be proud
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Yesterday, for the first time since the start of the trip out West, the Canadiens were led by Martin St-Louis.

In his absence, the Habs maintained a 1-2-1 record, giving them three points in four games. We wondered what impact his return would have on the boys.

And those who saw yesterday’s game, won 2-1 by the Flanelle, know that the players had bought into the game plan, had eaten their fill and were eager to play for the coach and his family. Pull out the cliché of your choice on that one.

Martin St-Louis, who said he was proud to be a member of the Habs yesterday before the game, made similar comments afterwards. The effort was there and he was clearly happy.

He didn’t hide his joy either.

The guys played for their coach and that gave them two points in the standings. And inevitably, with every win comes comments in connection with the overall standings.

Is it ideal to see the Habs get points in the standings at this point in the season? No.

But that doesn’t mean we have to beat ourselves over the head every time it happens. Kent Hughes did what he had to do to make the team lose more often than not(trading Sean Monahan), but the guys on the ice want to win.

Imagine the impact a 25-game losing streak would have on the end of the year. The atmosphere would be very heavy, and the sacrosanct culture that the coach instills at the expense of quality family time could not be established.

It takes losses to see some teams overtake the Habs in the standings, we agree. But it also takes moments when the team acts like a team, proves it can beat a team like the Avalanche and proves it has esprit de corps.

After all, what Martin St-Louis wants is for the team to forge an identity as a team that can win games, and as a group of guys committed to the team’s collective success.

The Canadiens will lose and win games between now and the end. Both will be important for the standings and for team culture. Why not appreciate each game for what it brings?

What’s the point of bringing in a top pick if you’re going to graft him onto a team that can’t win hockey games? Look at the Oilers of the 2010s…

(Credit: Tankathon)

But hey. That’s not all we have to remember about this game, which was the last one in the West and which allowed the Habs to play for .500 in their last five games.

So what do I remember?

1. Nathan MacKinnon is unique and hard to stop. Yesterday, it took less than a minute for one of the Avalanche’s best forwards to find the back of the net. He’s strong… especially at home.

The Habs don’t have a player like him.

2. Samuel Montembeault may have flinched in the first minute of play, but he saw Nick Suzuki bring both teams back to square one seconds later.

He also saw Joel Armia score in the first, giving the Habs the lead.

But even though the Habs played well, it was the last goal Martin St-Louis’ men scored in the game. Monty played with a one-goal lead during the Denver game. And he won.

Like Cayden Primeau on Sunday, he gave away just one goal.

Note that this is the first time the Quebecer has won in March. It’s his first win since Jake Allen, who’s breaking everything in his path in New Jersey, left.

It was Allen who won against Colorado in January at the Bell Centre.

3. What’s interesting about yesterday’s game is that two important young players for the Canadiens – and two members of the first trio – made franchise history.

Juraj Slafkovsky became the first player under 20 to score 40 points in a season. He is also on his second scoring streak of the year, with eight straight games on the score sheet.

As for Nick Suzuki, he joined Bernard Geoffrion in sixth place in team history for most points before the age of 25. He has 276 points.

Guy Lafleur (419), Stéphane Richer (366), Henri Richard (356), Steve Shutt (300) and Mario Tremblay (300) are all ahead of the current Habs captain, who turns 25 in August.

4. Alex Newhook faced his former team last night. He got a great reception from the fans and managed to stand out in the face-off circle. I guess he had some money on the board…

Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen also faced their former teams.

5. Late in the game, the Habs got a four-minute power play. The team put two defensemen on the second power-play wave: the coach wanted to win at all costs and not get played. Samuel Montembeault (28 shots in the game) no doubt appreciated this.

And once again, Brendan Gallagher paid the price. So much the better if he stands out like this.

6. For the first time since November 22 and 24, the Habs won back-to-back games on the road. The games were against the Ducks and Sharks and there was no opponent like Colorado, that said.

In fact, the Habs hadn’t won in Denver since… 2014.


The trip out West is over and the boys are back home. Expect a fairly quiet day to recover from the jet lag of the long trip to the other side of the continent.

Tomorrow will be a better time to get ready to face the Flyers at home.

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