Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Seesaw Effort That Was Enough In Game 50

Feb 6, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;
Feb 6, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens returned from their All Star break last night with a game on the road against the Washington Capitals.

It was the Canadiens 50th game of the season and they once again entered with a chance to return to "NHL .500" as they had a record of 20-21-8 in their first 49 games of the season.

Here are 24 thoughts on the Habs return to the ice against the Capitals.

First Period Thoughts

Sam Montembeault got the start and he needs to be considered the starter for the final 33 games of the season. He has already signed a contract extension and the team seems ready to run with him, but they need to give him a run as the number one guy.

The game kind of felt like Canadiens versus former Canadiens. The Capitals have Max Pacioretty, Joel Edmundson and Charlie Lindgren on the roster and Kirk Muller behind the bench.

The Canadiens unorthodox goaltending scenario is not ideal, but maybe it all could have been avoided if they just kept Lindgren. The 30 year old has a 2.59 GAA with a .916 SV% in his first 21 games of this season.

Mike Matheson looked to keep the puck inside the offensive zone but it was blown down for offside. I always thought the offside review was stupid because its sole purpose is to take goals off the scoreboard. Why can't we review offsides that were not actually offside and bring the faceoff back inside the attacking zone?

Nick Suzuki sure looked like an All Star early in last night's game. He opened the scoring as he hammered a one-timer over Lindgren and then showed some poise and confidence with the puck as he collected a rebound off a Kaiden Guhle shot that hit the post. Suzuki was on a tight angle and had little time but got the puck under control and fired it into the back of the net.

Cole Caufield set up the first Suzuki goal by making a great defensive play in the neutral zone to force a turnover and then land a perfect tape to tape saucer pass onto the stick of Suzuki. Caufield had a bit of a dip in production earlier in the season but he has 13 points on his current ten game point streak and once again looks like a first line winger.

Perhaps I spoke too soon about Lindgren being the answer the Canadiens missed out on in goal. Michael Pezzetta fired a puck over his glove hand 13 minutes into the game and Lindgren was done after allowing three goals on nine shots. Upon further review, he also had a 3.05 GAA and .899 SV% in 31 games last season so we can stick with Montembeault.

The Canadiens, who confirmed they were sellers by trading Sean Monahan days ago, looked like an elite, well oiled machine in the first 20 minutes last night. They outshot the Capitals 14-5, were drawing up wild plays to get shots on goal off faceoffs with seconds left, and were up 3-0 when the buzzer sounded for the first time.