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In Hainsight: One Last Defeat

April 17, 2024, 2:19 PM ET [1107 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

For the second game in a row, a young Canadiens’ prospect was making his NHL debut last night. After Lane Hutson in Detroit, it was Logan Mailloux’s turn to take his first strides in the big league. When he stepped on the ice alone for the habitual “rookie lap” he received a mixed reaction from the fans who were in attendance for the warmup. There were some boos, but there were also cheers, but the youngster handled it well.

While it was Mailloux’s first game in the NHL, it was also the Red Wings’ last chance to qualify for the playoffs. To stay alive, they needed both to win and for Washington to lose. Detroit did its part, beating the Canadiens 5-4 in the shootout, but the Capitals beat Philadelphia 2-1 with the game-winning goal being an empty-net goal since John Tortorella’s Flyers also needed a win to stay alive which prompted the bench boss to roll the dice, but the strategy backfired.

Back in Montreal, just like the night before, the Canadiens grabbed the lead early but were unable to protect it and get the two points. It matters very little at this stage, but still, this young team needs to learn to do that if it is to take the next step.

In this last game, Juraj Slafkovsky needed to get his 20th goal of the season to receive a $250,000 performance bonus and it showed. During the whole game, his linemates Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield kept trying to set him to seal the deal. In the end, it was a Lane Hutson shot which the sophomore was able to deflect to grab his 20th tally of the season. When asked if he was going to get a tip from the bonus, Hutson replied “I’ve given him my Venmo”. It doesn’t seem like Slafkovsky will use it though, when asked he said “I’m sure he’ll get all of his performance bonuses next season, he’ll be alright”. In the end, the big Slovak gathered 20 goals and 30 assists in his second season, an unmitigated success. By next season though, its a participation to the playoffs which should be the objective of the last game, not individual performance bonuses.



In the loss, Brendan Gallagher got a couple of points, a goal, and an assist which gives him 16 goals and 15 assists on the season. It’s not a great offensive output, but it’s more than many expected. The last few weeks of the calendar were good for the alternate captain, he found some stability with Newhook and Armia playing with him and it showed. It’s also worth noting that had it not been for his five-game suspension, Gallagher would have played 82 games this season, which hadn’t happened since 2018-2019 and it will no doubt allow him to train without worry this offseason.

Logan Mailloux did well in his debut, just like Hutson the night before, he picked up his first career point with an assist on Alex Newhook’s goal a little over the halfway point of the first frame. He took two shots on net, landed one hit, and didn’t commit any giveaways in 21 minutes of ice time. The new number 94 showed that he can play at this level. After the game, Mailloux was interviewed on 98.5 and he did the whole interview in French. He even sounded like a local when the word "ici" was pronounced "icitte".



As for Lane Hutson, he spent over 23 minutes on the ice, adding another assist to his account and playing in all situations. He spent nearly two minutes skating on the power play, was on the ice for the overtime period, and was even asked to take one of the shootout shots (according to Martin St.Louis because “That’s what the crowd wanted”). He did commit four giveaways but it’s not all that shocking for an offensive defenseman who likes to play a big part in the attack. It’s been quite a while since the Habs have had a player with that kind of skills while in possession of the puck. I dare say that when he picked up the puck, the crowd was as excited as when P.K. Subban would take off back in the day. Sure, it’s important to manage expectations and not put too much pressure on the kid, but from what he’s shown so far, it’s fair to say that his game will translate well to the NHL and he’s got the tools he needs to succeed.

The Canadiens will now all go their separate ways for the long offseason after having their exit interview in Brossard. Kaiden Guhle has already said he got an invite from Team Canada for the World Championship and if he’s healthy by then, he’ll go. Montembeault, Suzuki, and Newhook could join him in wearing the maple leaf. It’s expected that Slafkovsky will represent Slovakia, Caufield the USA, and Reinbacher Austria.

As for the head coach, he’ll go back home knowing he’ll be at the helm of the Canadiens for the next three years since the team used the option clause in his contract to extend him. Last night, the pilot said it’s not a job for him, it’s a passion and he intends to be behind the bench for as long as he’s wanted there.

Fear not though, there will be playoffs hockey in Montreal this year, but not NHL ones, it will be PWHL playoffs. Speaking of the PWHL, Marie-Philip Poulin and her teammates will be back in action tomorrow night and will also be taking over the Bell Center on Saturday in a heated battle with rival Toronto.

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