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Cayden Primeau played and spoke like a veteran last night
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Last night, the Montreal Canadiens took on the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre. It was the club’s first game back from the road.

Of necessity, there was a world in which the Habs put on an ugly performance for their fans. It’s often like that when you return from a long trip.

But yesterday, the Habs came out strong and won 4-1.

Were the guys motivated to win for Martin St-Louis? Were they simply hungry? Did the crowd’s energy help them win? I don’t know.

But it worked.

One thing that did help, though, was the way Cayden Primeau played. The goaltender only gave the Flyers one short goal late in the game, and he kept his team in the game.

Was he helped by the fact that the game was littered with disallowed goals? Of course it did. But those goals were disallowed for a reason.

In a league of results, Primeau put in another fine performance. I said yesterday thatgoalkeepers are on fire at the moment, and Primeau proved it once again.

He gave up just one goal per game in his last two games this week (Seattle and Philly, his childhood club), and he showed the confidence of a veteran in front of his net. A guy who plays like that is clearly a confident guy.

He came close to collecting his third straight shutout at home (the Blue Jackets and Ducks had been blanked by the American earlier in the season), but finally gave away a goal with a minute to go.

His first goal at home since November still had him saying that a goalie shouldn’t play for a shutout (but that it’s cool when it happens), which is a veteran statement.

Her 29 saves on 30 shots inevitably help her stats.

After all, when you look at that, you see that even though he’s had a higher workload since Jake Allen left, he still manages to play the right way. He has games where he gives away too many goals, sure, but in general, he’s making progress.

(Credit: ESPN)

Since the beginning of the month, he has obtained five starts. That’s one more than January and February combined. Two starts (and three games) in January and two in February isn’t much.

With Samuel Montembeault back on the winning track this week (he was losing even though he wasn’t always playing badly), both Canadiens goalies could end up with positive records if things continue.

  • Primeau: 8-7-2
  • Montembeault: 14-13-7
This morning on BPM Sports, Renaud Lavoie mentioned that the last time the Habs had two goalies with a positive record at the end of a season was in 2018-2019. #CareyPrice #AnttiNiemi

In a rebuilding season, what Primeau and Monty are doing isn’t trivial. My buddy Tankathon must not be happy, though.

(Credit: Tankathon)

But hey. That’s not all we need to remember about this game, which allowed the Habs to string together three wins for the first time this campaign. That’s no mean feat.

What do I remember?

1. For the ninth straight game, Juraj Slafkovsky picked up at least one point. He’s on an extraordinary streak right now and is slowly becoming the player he needs to be. 15 goals and 41 points in 72 games is excellent.

And he loves it.

I’m just warming up. – Juraj Slafkovsky

2. Mike Matheson collected three points during the game. He now has 51 points so far this season. Only Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield did better.

He’s not perfect defensively, but Matheson is important to the club. 50 points for a Habs defenseman is a first since P.K. Subban. He and David Savard (eight blocked shots) are good leaders.

3. Nick Suzuki became the first 30-goal scorer since Brendan Gallagher in 2018-2019, five years ago. The pandemic may have prevented Tyler Toffoli from getting there in 2021, and an injury hampered Cole Caufield last year, but even so, the captain is the first to get there.

69 points (he also picked up an assist in the game) in 72 games is awfully close to a point per game.

4. Arber Xhekaj isn’t there to blacken the score sheet as regularly as his colleagues, but he is (among other things) there to keep his opponents at bay. And yesterday, he did just that.

Seeing him say “you don’t want that” to an opponent during a friendly breaststroke session keeps everyone quiet. Even Philadelphia’s Broad Street Bullies.

5. Late in the second period, Kaiden Guhle was on the bench for his team. He darted Travis Konecny with his stick and it didn’t exactly make the Flyers happy.

As Jonathan Bernier of the Journal de Montréal reports, the guys weren’t happy.

It was a dirty hit. The guys were furious. – Morgan Frost

He should have been ejected from the game. – Scott Laughton

According to what Renaud Lavoie said on the radio this morning, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a suspension. He could be fined, but not necessarily more than that.

To be continued today.

6. Jesse Ylönen, who is invisible on the ice night after night, collected his first goal since November. If only he’d play physical or stand out in some other way…

But he didn’t.

7. Joel Armia is a good hockey player. He collected a goal and an assist yesterday, but mostly played for more than 20 minutes. He was the second most-used forward yesterday: 20 minutes and 19 seconds.

I’ll let you guess who played 22 seconds more among the forwards. Hint: It’s Nick Suzuki. That should help you figure out who he is.


The Habs were originally scheduled to practice this morning. However, as a reward for three wins in a row, Martin St-Louis has cancelled his group’s practice scheduled for this morning.

Tomorrow, there’s a game against Carolina at home.

Three wins in a row and a first win at home following a long road trip under the Martin St-Louis era is something to celebrate, I guess. The last time the club won its first game at home after a long road trip was in November 2021. Dominique Ducharme and Marc Bergevin were still there.

That’s a long time.

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