Big Win For Habs, 7-4 vs Jets

Photo by Darcy Finley / NHLI via Getty Images

Big Win For Habs, 7-4 vs Jets

A big win for the Habs, with a 7-4 victory in Winnipeg Wednesday night. With Phillip Danault and Artturi Lehkonen each scoring two goals, Sven Andrighetto getting his first of the season, and Tomas Plekanec getting his second in two games, it was a good night for individual Habs, as well as for the team.

The Canadiens were shaking off a tough game in their return to the Bell Centre this past Monday, where they were beaten by the Washington Capitals 4-1. They responded with a no-nonsense, high-pressure, high-reward comeback in Winnipeg.

The Jets had a hard time keeping up with the lightning speed of the Habs. Paired with the talented hands and keen eyes of their opponents, the Jets could not catch up even after tying the game late in the first.

Here’s how it played out.

First Period: Shots 10-10

Goals:

  • Phillip Danault (Alexander Radulov, Max Pacioretty), 00:57; Brian Flynn (Sven Andrighetto, Nathan Beauieu), 4:19; Tomas Plekanec (Artturi Lehkonen), 14:01
  • Mark Scheifele (Drew Stafford), 6:07; Mathieu Perrault (Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little), 12:58

The game started with a quick opening goal by the Habs, when Phillip Danault got his first of the night. On a feed from Alexander Radulov, Danault took a backhand shot from beside the net, which went in before the first minute had elapsed.

Three minutes later, Brian Flynn put the Habs up 2-0, when he took a great pass from Sven Andrighetto and immediately released it into the net.

Winnipeg scored twice, which had the score tied at 2 all by the 13th minute of the period. But then, Tomas Plekanec (who opened the scoring floodgates in the game against the Capitals Monday night) scored to put the Habs ahead.

From right in front of the Winnipeg net, Plekanec took a hard shot and chased Connor Hellebuyck from the net, replaced by Michael Hutchinson.

The period ended with a 3-2 score.

Second Period: Shots 10-3 Montreal

Goals:

  • Sven Andrighetto (Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell), 00:53; Phillip Danault (Unassisted), 4:31
  • Mark Scheifele (PPG; Nikolaj Ehlers, Nic Petan), 5:06

Once again, the Habs had a quick goal in the opening minute, when Sven Andrighetto got his first of the season.

After the goal, he flung an invisible (proverbial) monkey off his back.

But the Habs weren’t done yet. With almost 5 minutes gone, Phillip Danault scored what is being hailed as the goal of the year; with good reason.

He went end-to-end, unassisted, dodging every player in his way, and scored his second of the night (you’ll likely want to watch this one numerous times):

The Jets came back with a responding goal 45 seconds later, but the Habs were still up 5-3 by the end of the period.

Third Period: Shots 14-10 Winnipeg

Goals:

  • Artturi Lehkonen (Shea Weber, Paul Byron), 4:10; Artturi Lehkonen (PPG; Nathan Beaulieu. Shea Weber), 9:05
  • Bryan Little (Drew Stafford), 10:04

The Habs hit again, both times with Artturi Lehkonen, when they got their 6th, and 7th goals in a 5-minute period.

The first was all Shea Weber, whose shot from the point was tipped in by Lehkonen.

Five minutes later, on a power play, Lehkonen got his second of the night. This was a flukey goal, when Nathan Beaulieu‘s shot bounced up off Hutchinson, who tried to get it back, having seen Lehkonen right in front. But the Habs had been beating Winnipeg all night, with well-placed shots and quick hands, and Lehkonen got the 7th Habs goal:

The Jets responded with their 4th goal, just at the halfway mark, pulled their goalie toward the end of the period, but to no avail, and the Habs got the well-deserved win, 7-4.

Some Thoughts:

  • Phillip Danault has been a valuable player all season, but has been rising to star quality of late. His 2nd goal of this game is the stuff of viral videos, and was compared to a Bobby Orr, or Guy Lafleur feat. That’s heavy company.
  • Artturi Lehkonen is also a rising star; he was touted, at the beginning of the season, as the rookie to watch, and lately he has been delivering strong performances. He’s at 10 goals now, and his quick thinking was indicative of the smart hockey sense he possesses.
  • Tomas Plekanec – who missed practice due to flu-like symptoms – obviously had the floodgates open with his 2nd goal in 2 games; this is what seems to happen when the dreaded “trade” rumors begin. I’ve heard players interviewed for years, regarding rumors, and to a man, they’ve all stated that they pay no attention to the chatter. But one has to wonder if Plekanec knew his performance (or lack thereof) was raising a lot of buzz; if not among the team bigwigs, then definitely among fans and analysts.

Either way, it’s great to see him rewarded. I still believe he is a talented player with a lot of good games to go.

  • Al Montoya made 23 saves on 27 shots (compared to the Winnipeg goalies who faced 30 shots from Montreal), and also came up big when he needed to save the almost-goals. It was good to see him get another win as well.
  • This was an entertaining game; with 11 goals scored in one game, it really does make things more fun. And as long as the Habs don’t sit on their lead (which they definitely did not do Wednesday night), those goals will come.

In any case, after Monday’s dismal performance, it was the perfect response from the Canadiens: not only a win, but a decisive win.

They play Thursday, when they visit the Wild in Minnesota. Puck drop will be 8:00 p.m., Eastern time.

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A Tribute to Tomas Plekanec

As announced earlier today, Tomas Plekanec officially retired from the NHL after spending 15 years in the league; starting from the 2005-2006 season. All of his 1001 games, with the exception of 17 with Toronto, were spent with the Canadiens after being selected in the third round in 2001. In his 984 games as a […]

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