Montreal Canadiens: A Second Period Turning Point

VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 20: Tyler Toffoli Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 20: Tyler Toffoli Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks wasted no time getting back on the board in what was essentially a continuation of Wednesday night’s matchup. Jake Allen had the start in goal for the Habs.

The first 20 minutes of play saw both team’s score two goals apiece in a period. Tyler Toffoli continued his dominant play, scoring his fourth goal after a hat trick the previous night. Joel Armia got an assist on the play that gave the Montreal Canadiens a 1-0 lead. However, Bo Horvat, looking to build on his three point night on Wednesday (2 goals, 1 assist), quickly tied the game for the Canucks.

While the penalties taken by the Canadiens would prove to be frustrating, they did manage to capitalize on the penalty kill to score a short-handed goal. Joel Armia scored his first goal of the season on a play assisted by Tyler Toffoli. Armia would prove to be a crucial factor throughout the game, finishing with four points on the night.

The lack of discipline came back to tarnish the Canadiens’ momentum, as it did multiple times in their first bout against the Canucks. Bo Horvat would score his second of the night on a Canucks powerplay whilst assisted by J.T. Miller and defenseman Quinn Hughes.

The Turning Point of the Game for Canadiens

While the Montreal Canadiens did score twice in the first period, they were not particularly good throughout the first 20 minutes. Staying out of the penalty box prevented the Habs from shifting the momentum in their favor. However, their offense would ignite to score four goals to take a decisive lead over the Canucks.

The Montreal Canadiens managed to capital on a second penalty kill with Tyler Toffoli scoring his second goal of the night and fifth in two games to put them up 3-2 with Joel Armia recording his second assist. (The Habs currently lead the NHL with four short-handed goals).

Later in the period, the Canadiens would go on to score a flurry of goals in a two-minute span. Josh Anderson batted the puck on the rebound from Nick Suzuki’s shot to put the visitors up 4-2. Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin were given the assists. Jake Evans then followed suit nine seconds after Anderson’s goa to score l his second of the season with assists from Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen.

To conclude the second period, Joel Armia scored his second goal and fourth point of the night to give the Canadiens a 6-2 lead.

Losing Depth Players in the Final Twenty

Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter was able to cut their deficit down to three goals with assists from Rafferty and Myers but the Habs stood their ground and shut them down from the remainder of the game.

Unfortunately, for the Montreal Canadiens, they would not go unscathed this game as Paul Byron headed to the locker room with aid from the training staff with a noticeable limp. Byron did return to the bench but did not see playing time so it is still undetermined as to whether or not he plays on Saturday.

What we do know for certain is that Joel Armia will not be playing in the Montreal Canadiens next game against the Vancouver Canucks following a dangerous hit by defenseman Tyler Myers. As a result, Armia was required to head to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

This would give Myers a 5-minute major that the Montreal Canadiens made use of in terms of padding their lead to win 7-3. Ben Chiarot scored his first of the season whilst Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry added assists.

Looking Ahead

As there is currently a possibility that Paul Byron will play on Saturday, all eyes are on who will replace Joel Armia. The likeliest candidates are Corey Perry and Michael Frolik, two offseason signings by general manager Marc Bergevin who are currently waiting on the team’s taxi squad.

The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks will play once more on Saturday at 7pm ET.