Montreal Canadiens: Habs impress in series win over the Canucks

Jan 21, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) and the Canadiens bench celebrate ToffoliÕs goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the second period in a game at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) and the Canadiens bench celebrate ToffoliÕs goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the second period in a game at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

Montreal Canadiens were dominant in 3-game series versus Vancouver.

The Montreal Canadiens began the 2020-21 NHL season with a six game road trip. They finished those six games with a 4-0-2 record, collecting 10 out of 12 available points, and in the process put the North division on high alert. This year’s version of the Montreal Canadiens is here to win. From top to bottom, the Habs mean business.

On the back end of the Western road trip to begin the season, the Canadiens faced the Vancouver Canucks three times in four nights. A tough task for any team, to go into an opponent’s arena and play three games in such short succession. Montreal rose to the challenge and then some.

The Canadiens’ first game against the Canucks was by far their worst performance so far in this young season. Bo Horvat opened the scoring for the Canucks on the powerplay in the first period, as the Habs were outshot 11-7 in the opening frame. The teams combined for nine goals the remainder of the game, which ultimately saw Vancouver top Montreal 6-5 in a shootout.

The Canadiens showed resilience, tying the game on four separate occasions, but were unable to come away with the two points.

The downfall of the Habs in the first game was their inability to stay out of the box. They took six penalties, while allowing three powerplay goals. However, there were a few silver linings in the loss. Tyler Toffoli was brilliant. The offseason acquisition put up a hattrick versus his former club, and continued his strong play for the rest of the series. The Canadiens also secured a point on the road, which could end up being critical down the stretch.

The Canadiens bounced back in game 2 of the series, defeating the Canucks 7-3 in a dominating performance. The game was tied 2-2 after the first period, but the Habs exploded for four goals in the second frame and never looked back.

Joel Armia

had a fantastic night, collecting two goals and two assists. Jake Allen picked up his second win of the season, which brings his record to 2-0-0 with the Canadiens.

A shadow was cast upon the win however, as Armia exited the game after taking a high hit from Tyler Myers late in the third period. Myers received a match penalty and a game misconduct on the play, while Armia was diagnosed with a concussion. The severity of Armia’s concussion is yet to be known, but he did skate yesterday after team practice.

Game three between Montreal and Vancouver was much tighter defensively. Joel Edmundson wasted no time stepping up for his injured teammate in Armia. Edmundson had a healthy bout with Myers early on in the first period and set the tone for the rest of the contest. The Canadiens held a 2-0 lead after the second period, including a goal from Corey Perry, but Vancouver was quick to tie that game at two early on in the third. Montreal’s quick-strike offence was too much to handle for the Canucks, as Gallagher and Drouin both capitalized on Vancouver turnovers. Edmundson sealed the game with an empty netter, to cap off a solid performance from the blue liner.

There were a lot of positives to take out of this series for the Canadiens. One being the effectiveness of all four lines for Claude Julien. The head coach was able to roll his lines without having to worry about line matching, a problem that generally troubles coaches having the first change. This was also in part to Jake Evans emerging as a vary reliable 200- foot center and penalty killer.

Alexander Romanov looked fantastic on the blueline and is gaining the trust of his coach and teammates. The young defender plays a heavy game and is a handful for the opposition’s forwards in the corners. The Russian defender logged a career high 22:31 TOI in the 7-3 victory over Vancouver. He fit right in on the Canadiens’ second power play unit, and possesses the underrated skill of being able to get the puck through to the net from the point.

Jeff Petry was superb against the Canucks, and is looked at as the number one defenseman for the Canadiens offensively. Petry is off to a torrent pace, putting up 7 points in 6 games to start the season.

Nick Suzuki was dynamic once again, and showed his intelligence and hockey IQ in the Vancouver series. The young center is moving along at a point-per-game clip for the Canadiens, and is poised to keep improving throughout the season.

Another player that has been impressive, but seemingly not getting much praise is Jonathan Drouin. Drouin is also producing at a point-per-game pace, and is looking engaged on the ice. With new found linemates in Suzuki and Anderson, Drouin has been dangerous offensively.

Price and Allen are both sitting at two wins a piece. They have provided quality goaltending thus far, and will look to be one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL.

Last but not least, Tyler Toffoli’s performance earned him first star of the week honors across the NHL. Toffoli is probably looking forward to the next time he gets to face Vancouver, as he was red hot, putting up five goals and two assists in the three game series.

Next. Sam Pollock sets table for Habs to land Guy Lafleur. dark

The Canadiens will look to maintain top spot in the North division, as the Calgary Flames are in town for the next two contests. The Habs return to action on Thursday night, for the beginning of a five game homestand at the Bell Center. Home Sweet Home.