Montreal Canadiens: Jake Evans Finding Another Gear With Josh Anderson, Sean Monahan

New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens
New Jersey Devils v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Martin St. Louis has continued to put the Montreal Canadiens lineup through the blender, and his latest trio of Jake Evans, Sean Monahan and Josh Anderson has stuck.

For all the right reasons this line works, as each player brings different but equally important elements to the line. There’s a blend of Anderson’s physicality, Monahan’s smart offensive style and Evans two-way prowess. But perhaps the biggest challenge that playing against 17-71-91 is the fact that they all skate as fast as they process strong puck play. 

For my money, both Evans and Anderson have played their best hockey of the season together. And it’s not a coincidence that Monahan has been the perfect addition to the two speedy forwards. Evans seems to have random offensive outbursts - he scores a stunning goal - and you are left in shock. 

Evans will never be an offensive dynamo, but the fact that his level of play with the puck has undergone some big improvements. I think things are working so well, simply because Anderson found Evans and the pair can match each other’s speed and create together. Monahan just slots in on the wing as a responsible two way guy, he now has more room to create offence.

I think it will be difficult to split this line up because it solves two problems. Anderson doesn’t look lost anymore, and he has been sustaining great play over the last couple of games. Secondly, Evans is finding another gear and his confidence has helped the line provide another option for the Canadiens offensive attack.

It’s not broken, so please Marty, don’t fix it. This line works, and ideally Monahan should play in the top six as a centre. But why touch a line that has been a strong spot for the Habs. If some weight can be taken off Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky’s shoulders, the Canadiens will be better for it. 

Christian Dvorak has fit nicely with Brendan Gallagher and Jesse Ylonen, and there’s a proper fourth line with Michael Pezzetta, Mitchell Stephens and Joel Armia. The lineup looks relatively well-balanced, with all things being considered. A big reason for that is because Anderson is playing well and his line hasn’t harmed the team; which has been a welcomed change. 

Injuries happen, it’s the nature of the beast, but until then, it would be wise to keep Monahan with the two speedsters. Perhaps Anderson will score against a goalie, and start a trend of goal-scoring for this line. Evans scored on Sunday night against the Nashville Predators, and Monahan scored twice against the Seattle Kraken in a 4-1 win on Monday night.

The line has worked well, and all parts are playing fantastic hockey. Anderson's haters have piped down, and it feels damn nice watching this line when they’re on the ice.