Montreal Canadiens Enter Christmas Break on a High Note
T’was the game before Christmas, the road trip’s last leg,
And Habs fans came out in force, all through the Peg.
These resilient Habs fans were treated just right,
With Les Boys triumphant, 6-2 that night.
Danault and Tatar each with two goals,
While Domi and Lehkonen found the space between the red poles.
The Jets started with a goal from Laine,
But Julien caught them offside, and said “No way Jose.”
The Jets scored two in the end, one on the power play,
And the second one off a snipe from Laine.
The Habs out-chanced, out-played and out-shot,
Who was better? Obvious, is it not?
Good that the Habs are in a playoff spot, for everyone’s wish is the same.
“All I want for Christmas is a Canadiens playoff game!”
I came up with that myself.
So was the Canadiens’ win last night. They dominated for all but the first ten minutes of the game. Here are some thoughts:
Goal Callback #2
Anybody who watched the game would have seen Claude Julien’s witchcraft that got a Laine goal called back for offside. This play also gave Julien the opportunity to wake up his players, and is considered a turning point in the game. But some people may have forgotten that 20 seconds into the game, Tomas Tatar stole a goal from the Jets. The puck was trickling in off a scramble when Tatar steered it out of harm’s way. In my opinion, that play was the reason the Canadiens won the game. Had Tatar not saved that goal, the false start for the Canadiens would have been even more costly. Tatar had a tremendous game. Two goals, all while starting most of his shifts in the defensive zone against the Jets’ top guns. He has now tied Brendan Gallagher for the team lead in goals, and is running away with the team lead in points.
Danault for Selke
Philip Danault has long been appreciated as a Selke Trophy candidate inside of La Belle Province, but has been chronically underrated outside of Habs Nation. Finally he is starting to get some recognition. Many journalists and hockey writers would, if the vote were today, put Danault in their top three for the Selke Trophy. Why this sudden appreciation for Danault? Well, it was all fine and dandy when Danault was great defensively, but he had trouble producing offence. Now, centering an amazing line with Tatar and Gallagher, Philip Danault is on pace for a 60-point season. Now he’s producing offence. Danault is such a valuable player for the Canadiens. And to think that Bergevin got him and the draft pick that turned into Alexander Romanov – all just for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. “Who?” you ask. Exactly. What a fleece by Bergevin.
Usual Suspects Strike Again
As usual, the Tatar-Danault-Gallagher line drove the offence, with each player getting two points. As usual, Carey Price was good when he needed to be, and he made a great save on a Kyle Connor breakaway, which drew ‘Carey, Carey’ chants from this Winnipeg crowd. As usual, Max Domi had a big night. He scored a goal and an assist, and his goal was a crucial one that put the game out of reach for the Jets. Due to the injury of half the team, it is crucial that those who can score will score. The goals need to come from somewhere.
Plenty of Hockey to Watch This Christmas Break
Just because the Canadiens are done until Saturday does not mean we don’t have any hockey to watch this week. The World Junior Hockey Championships begin with a big Canada vs. USA game on Boxing Day. There are a number of Canadiens prospects to watch, most notably Cole Caufield, who scored four goals in the preliminary game against Germany yesterday. Other prospects include: Jordan Harris (USA), Mattias Norlinder (Sweden) and Alexander Romanov (Russia). As I mentioned in an earlier article, Caufield could be joining the Canadiens in March so it will be interesting to see how he does against top competition in the World Juniors.
Canadiens hockey resumes on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah, folks.
Go Habs Go.
Signed, Le Bo