Canadians are lucky. He was lucky to face a lower ranked team. He’s lucky the Blue Jackets are playing their third game in four nights and he’s lucky Samuel Montembeault is in good shape.
Without one of these three conditions, Martin St-Louis and his men would have returned to Montreal after suffering a second consecutive defeat. However, they enjoyed a 4-2 victory in Columbus.
The Montrealers multiplied their errors in the first twenty. They were guilty of various turnovers. During a transition, Johnathan Kovacevic, Cole Caufield (twice) and Christian Dvorak returned the puck to the edge of the opponent’s stick.
Even Kaiden Guhle, normally a metronome in defensive play, had some brain cramps.
Mental errors from this grueling ten-day trip? It is possible.
Armia, the unexpected hero
The Canadian is as crooked as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but he works. And as always happens in these cases, good things happened to him.
They had to regroup and the Blue Jackets exposed their shortcomings, but the Montrealers were able to hang on as they refined their game.
What happened on the 26the minutes into the game, moments after Patrik Laine took advantage of confusion near the Canadian bench to break free and open the scoring.
Proof that good things come to those who work, Joel Armia (he was tempted), back in the lineup after another stay in the American League, scored the win. The Finn also hit the target in his first return with the big club, on October 28.
In this victory, Caufield scored his seventh goal of the season. Marking 60e career goal of 145e game, the American became the fifth player in CH history to reach this milestone before 150 games. Howie Morenz (74 games), Maurice Richard (83), Jean Béliveau (132) and Joe Benoit (135) are the others.
A satisfying journey
It was far from perfect, but the Habs came back from this four-game road trip with three more wins on their record.
We know the Canadian is at risk of getting slapped against the Los Angeles Kings. After all, Tricolore is far from the same level as the Videotron Center’s next tenants.
But he won the games he had to win. Close victories, but victories nonetheless.
Montembeault is probably the best player on this trip. He was the main architect of the victory in Anaheim and Columbus.
The Oilers’ spies, who followed the Canadian for most of the trip, were certainly taking notes.
Alex Newhook, who is used to facing Western Conference teams during his two full seasons in Colorado Avalanche uniform, is taking advantage of this journey to revive.
He hit the target in three of the four games.
No time to breathe
The troops of St. Louis will not have much time to breathe and recover from this trip as they will receive a visit from the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
The Stanley Cup finalists will complete a three-game trip to Eastern Canada at the Bell Centre.
Cayden Primeau, who returned to Montreal before his teammates, will defend the net for the locals.