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Win Could Bring Old Canadiens Back

The Old Canadiens may return to play for Montreal after the team snapped their six-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout victory in Tampa.

The Old Canadiens – that is the ones from the beginning of the season and not the legends of the past – may be making a return to play for Montreal after the team snapped their six-game losing streak and recorded only their third win December with a 4-3 shootout victory in Tampa Bay on Monday night.

Win Could Bring Old Canadiens Back

The Canadiens displayed their true colours in the win with solid goaltending, speed, some flashes of physicality and the minimum of three goals to win NHL games, according to head coach Michel Therrien. In the twelve prior games this month, the Canadiens scored three goals only once – in one of the two victories – scored twice four times, netted one in six games, including each of their last three, and were shutout once.

Scoring was a non-issue for the Canadiens in October and November. Their scoring prowess led the team to a 18-4-3 record on December 1st and a comfortable spot on top of the Atlantic Division. Montreal was even drawing comparison to the legendary Canadiens teams of the 1970s when they would blow their opponents out of the water with goals.

The lack of scoring in December has led them to a 3-10-0 record this month and their divisional foes have caught up to them in the embryonic stages of the race towards the playoffs.  The future of Therrien was in question and trade rumours swirled around the team – which may have been silenced on Monday when the Canadiens acquired goaltender Ben Scrivens for idle forward Zack Kassian.

Montreal was a victim of their own medicine from last season by playing in close and low scoring hockey games and were not able to turn the tide until Monday night. Against a foe who has their number, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canadiens dominated play early on, scored first and finished the first forty minutes with a 2-1 lead. Tomas Plekanec snapped his 22-game goalless drought and Alex Galchenyuk found the back of the net for the second time in a week.

A collapse with seven minutes left in the third, allowing two Tampa goals in the span of 21 seconds, could have signaled the end of the Canadiens bid for a victory but like the old Canadiens, Montreal battled back and persevered for a win. Dale Weise scored his 11th goal of the year a mere forty seconds after the Lightning took the lead when his puck just crossed the goal line and was confirmed upon video review.

Brian Flynn and captain Max Pacioretty scored in the shootout to give the team their first win since December 12 against Ottawa. The joyous celebration from the team could only mean one thing – the old Canadiens are back and ready to do damage to their opponents.

The Canadiens are a team that feeds of confidence and energy to get wins. Pacioretty is a goal scorer, who, once he scores once to get his confidence going, is unstoppable. P.K. Subban eats crowd energy for breakfast and will certainly need more of that to break his goal drought – although he still is third on team with 24 points. Goalies Mike Condon and Scrivens will need all the confidence they can get from games in Florida, Boston and Philadelphia before heading back home on January 6.

This was a playoff-type game after the two teams met in the post-season in each of the past two years and their animosity was evident in this game. The hockey was at its finest and Montreal never stopped applying full effort and played as if it was the month of May. Maybe, just maybe, with this win, the old Canadiens of October and November can return to form and guide Montreal back onto the winning track.

Main Photo.


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