About Last Night: Suzuki, Slafkovsky ignite offense in Habs’ win over Caps

Juraj Slafkovsky and Nick Suzuki each scored twice in the Montreal Canadiens’ 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

Article content

Juraj Slafkovsky had the first two-goal game of his career, while Nick Suzuki came within one goal of his first hat trick in the Montreal Canadiens’ 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night. .

It was Montreal’s first game since the All-Star break.

Article content

Sam Montembeault started in goal and made 37 saves. Cole Caufield extended his point streak to 10 games.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The Habs will rely even more on their captain over the final 32 games of the season after trading for unrestricted free agent Sean Monahan over the offseason. That left only Suzuki and Jake Evans as regulars in the middle on Tuesday. Brandon Gignac was recalled from Laval and signed to a two-way contract for the remainder of this season and next. He wore number 74 in his debut with the Habs.

The Habs came out on top with three goals in the first half. Suzuki scored both his goals just 57 seconds apart. The first was a one-timer off a Caufield pass.

Advertisement 3

Article content

For the second goal, Arber Xhekaj held the line before firing the puck onto the post. He went straight to Suzuki, who went heads-up to beat former Hab Charlie Lindgren.

Article content

Advertisement 4

Article content

The Capitals waived Lindgren after he gave up three goals on nine shots, making it the first time the Habs have pursued a goalie all season. Trevor van Riemsdyk was taken out in the corner, allowing Rafael Harvey-Pinard to set up Michael Pezzetta in front. 3-0 Habs after the first half.

Advertisement 5

Article content

New Caps goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper was less busy than his predecessor in the second half. The Caps turned the tables on Montreal, beating the Habs 16-5. At one point near the end of the second, the line of Pezzetta, Harvey-Pinard, Lucas Condotta with Kaiden Guhle and Mike Matheson on defense was out for more than two minutes, with only a cherry on top to provide a brief respite.

But the Caps were only able to score once against Montembeault. Alex Ovechkin moved closer to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record with his 10th of the season. He is now 62 away from tying the Big One, although with his current scoring rate down, he doesn’t look good for Ovi.

Advertisement 6

Article content

In the third period, the Habs got a much-needed 4-1 cushion when Slafkovsky scored the first of two. He received a good pass from Evans and made no mistake with his hard wrist shot.

Advertisement 7

Article content

Just 22 seconds later, the Caps once again pulled within two when Rasmus Sandin shot from the top of the circle that iced Montembeault. 4-2 Hab. Both goals were scored in 4 on 4 with Anthony Mantha and Johnathan Kovacevic serving underage.

Advertisement 8

Article content

Once outside the area, Mantha attempted to renew hostilities with Kovacevic. Instead, he landed a wild elbow in the box. On the power play that followed, Slafkovsky made the Caps pay. Matheson set up the 19-year-old for a single perfect shot to extend the lead to 5-2. That’s how it ended.

Advertisement 9

Article content

Suzuki and Slafkovsky headlined the night’s Hockey Stat Cards Impact Card. Matheson had a career-high 36 points, with 32 games left in the season. Xhekaj and Kovacevic also formed a strong defensive partnership.

Advertisement 10

Article content

Life without Monahan is off to a promising start, but there were moments, especially in the second period, where you could see the team and its lack of center depth being tested. Alex Newhook will return soon and can play in the middle. Some of the Liveblog commentators follow the Laval Rocket quite closely, so they knew what to expect from Gignac: speed and more speed.

3. “It came out very quickly thanks to the first line. He fell asleep in the second, bent but didn’t break. And then the first line worked again on the third. Tonight they were rock stars. Slaf is very happy to be back on the front line. A couple of goals to show his appreciation. Honorable mention to the third line. They played hard all night. And another great night from Monty.” -Doug Kirkby

2. “Very impressive game in general in Montreal. Suzy and Slav showing some skill. The defense played well, a good game from Arber too.” -D.W. Thompson

1. “Good win for the Habs. For those of us who have been screaming at Slaf to shoot more, wish granted. Who would have thought that Slaf would have more multi-goal games than CC 50 this season?” -Michael Camino

Article content

Leave a Comment