In closing out a back-to-back set, the Canadiens and Canucks engaged in another high-scoring game. After the Canucks squeaked out an exciting shootout win on Wednesday, the Canadiens absolutely clobbered Vancouver on Thursday. Montreal won 7-3, and this one was really over after an explosive second period.
While the Canadiens understandably took it easier during the final frame, it felt like the Habs could basically pick their score against an overmatched Canucks squad.
Here are some thoughts.
Serious issues for Canucks’ defense
Chalk it up to fatigue or a bad matchup, but the Canadiens just dominated the Canucks. You really can’t put this all on Thatcher Demko.
Simply put, coach Travis Green needs to find some answers. Or hope that his team can outscore its problems like Wednesday, rather than just getting swamped like they did in this last game.
#Canucks have now given up 5 in 4 of their 6 games
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) January 22, 2021
So far, Montreal looks like it can roll multiple attackers at opponents. The 2019-20 version of the Habs could really skate and dominate the puck, but not quite finish. There’s been a lot of finish lately.
It was an absolute barrage in the second period:
The spotlight was on Joel Armia, among others (more will be mentioned). He scored two goals and two assists in a great performance. Unfortunately, that night was cut short by an ugly hit late in the game by Tyler Myers.
The Canadiens and Canucks face off again on Saturday. It would be surprising if Tyler Myers isn’t suspended for that game and more; here’s hoping Joel Armia avoids a major injury.
Remarkably, the Canadiens’ power play only really did any damage when this game was well out of reach. This was all even-strength and shorthanded dominance from Montreal.
Canadiens’ offseason additions and changes look strong again
It remains to be seen if we’ll look back at the Canadiens’ offseason as savvy over the long-term. That’s because the Habs made quite a few long-term bets, even without many of those key additions playing a single shift for Montreal.
But, when you zoom out to the larger blueprint … so far, so good.
After generating a hat trick against his former team on Wednesday, Tyler Toffoli didn’t really slow down a night later. He looked absolutely electric in scoring multiple points once again for Montreal.
While Jake Allen‘s stats won’t look the best, he survived when this game looked like it might be another run-and-gun affair. More than anything else, every night of rest he can buy for Carey Price will leave Marc Bergevin & Co. smiling. (Seeing Josh Anderson score a pretty baseball-bunt-style goal likely only made that smile go wider.)
Even some holdovers are talking points for Bergevin’s plan. Nick Suzuki once again got on the scoresheet. In making changes like trading away Max Domi, the Habs made sure that Suzuki and others could maintain the spotlight. Of all the Habs’ moves, that more indirect one shines brightly.
We’ll see if the Canucks can get their act together after this shellacking; it certainly doesn’t look like the Canadiens will make it easy for them.