The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks met for the fourth time in the last two weeks, this time, in the friendly confines of Centre Bell.
A pre-game note dating back to Saturday night, defensemen Victor Mete, who missed the first seven games, reportedly requested a trade from the Canadiens. This was communicated through his agent, Darren Ferris, after Mete was left on the hockey club’s taxi squad.
Marc Bergevin responded to the report, declining the validity of this conversation, saying he had no intention to the trade the native of Woodbridge. This again despite the fact that he didn’t cracked the lineup until Monday night. With such strong depth on the roster, it appeared to draw the 22-year-old out.
On Monday, head coach Claude Julien confirmed that Mete would make his season debut, taking Brett Kulak spot alongside Alexander Romanov. He mentioned that he had a plan all along, which was to get him into the lineup and that he had spoken to Mete, who was ok with the game plan.
It didn’t take long for the Habs to strike, as one minute in, the Habs found themselves on a three-on-two, which was then completed by winger Josh Anderson, who found Nick Suzuki to break open the scoring. This gave Montreal an early 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was charged with a penalty, as he was called for tripping, sending Vancouver to the power play. The Canadiens, who had scored five goals shorthanded this season, made it six when Arturri Lehkonen robbed the puck from forward Adam Gaudette and beat Holtby five-hole to double Montreal’s lead. This was also his 300th NHL point.
Gaudette would make up for his mistake, as a few minutes later, he stole the puck from Alexander Romanov and fired a laser glove side past Carey Price. This brought them within now, 2-1 Canadiens.
With three minutes left in the first, Jeff Petry added to Montreal’s hot opening with a wicked shot that beat Holtby top shelf, this allowing the Habs to regain their two-goal advantage. This would put Montreal up 3-1 over Vancouver.
Montreal continued their strong play into period two and added to their lead, as winger Brendan Gallagher scored his fourth of the season while on the breakaway, deking out Braden Holtby. This heightened their advantage on Vancouver, now leading 4-1.
The goals kept coming for Montreal, and less than two minutes later, Petry banked in his second, as he received a great feed from veteran Corey Perry, who would record his 800th NHL point throughout the game. This would put the Habs ahead on the Canucks, 5-1.
Keep in mind, these two teams meet again on Tuesday in a back-to-back situation, so the Canucks opted not to change goaltenders, with Thatcher Demko set to start against Jake Allen.
With four minutes left in the second, forward Adam Gaudette took another penalty and Montreal finally converted on the man advantage. That allowed Tyler Toffoli to swiftly slide the puck right in on the empty side to make it 6-1 Canadiens.
That’s how the second frame would end, with the Montreal Canadiens just 20 minutes away from a dominating win over the visiting Canucks. The this period was almost flawless for the Habs, who spent most of final period trying to add to their extended lead. They did so meanwhile, Vancouver tried to push the puck back to make it a closer game.
With just eight minutes remaining, forward Jay Beagle made it 6-2, as he got a dress pass right in front of the net from forward Tyler Motte and beat Price top shelf. That’s as close as things would get, as Montreal bounced back on home ice from an off-night on Saturday to take the much-needed victory.
Playing in a two-game series, the two sides meet again on Tuesday with puck drop scheduled for 7:00pmET. The game can be seen on TSN2 in the Habs region, meanwhile, it can also be found on RDS. As well, the game can be heard on TSN 690 Montreal and Sportsnet 650.