About Last Night: Habs close out road trip with a win…barely

Nick Suzuki scored his team-high 12th goal of the season and added an assist in Montreal’s 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars.

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The Montreal Canadiens weathered a late onslaught by the Dallas Stars to end their road trip on a high note with a 4-3 win at America Airlines Center on Tuesday night.

Captain Nick Suzuki scored his team-high 12th goal of the season and added an assist. Sam Montembeault made 30 saves in the win.

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Josh Anderson left the game in the third period and needed assistance from the trainers to get to the dressing room.

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With a win, the Habs ended their seven-game road trip with a 2-4-1 record.

Dallas kicked their new year off with bang, scoring 11 seconds in. Jamie Benn took advantage of a bad clearing attempt to make it 1-0 Stars.

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Montreal’s captain responded four minutes later. Juraj Slafkovsky set up Suzuki for the one-timer blast past Scott Wedgewood to tie it up 1-1.

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Kaiden Guhle gave the Habs a 2-1 lead at 9:46, jumping on a rebound after Wedgewood kicked the initial save towards him. That’s how the first period ended.

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In the second period, Jordan Harris had some options off the rush and elected to shoot, which tricked Wedgewood to give Montreal a 3-1 advantage. It was Harris’ first goal of the season.

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Anderson’s bad luck started in the third period early, when he got high-sticked in the corner by Benn. Habs didn’t score on the ensuing double-minor. But at 6:45 with Joe Pavelski in the box, Cole Caufield completed a slick passing sequence on the power play for his 11th goal of the season to extend Montreal’s lead to 4-1. Caufield now has three goals in his last three games.

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The high stick didn’t do him in, but Anderson left the game after awkwardly bending his knee on a play. He needed help from the trainers to return to the dressing room.

With their goalie pulled at about six minutes to go, the Dallas Stars clawed back into the game. Wyatt Johnson started the comeback attempt with less than four minutes to play.

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With two minutes left in regulation, Jason Robertson was one of multiple Stars in front and he cashed in to pull Dallas to within one.

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But that was as close as the Stars got. The Canadiens held on to win 4-3 in regulation on the road, and concluded their road trip with a win, even if things looked a bit dicey towards the end. Montreal was outshot 33-18, but came away with the victory.

It was all about the top line last night. Slafkovsky didn’t get an assist on the Caufield goal, but he was instrumental in kick starting the play.

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It was a long road swing for the Liveblog commenters, too. Returning home mired in a losing streak would’ve only ratcheted up the tension further, but a regulation win puts the otherwise difficult trip in the rearview. The general consensus, though, was that the win was too close for comfort.

Two takeaways from the road trip, according the commenters: Slafkovsky has developed into a key player, and Montembeault can hold down the fort in goal.

3. “Monty was absolutely huge. What really helped was Montreal gave him a multi goal lead to play with. The 1rst line had a good game, all three of them. Ghule had a great game. Well we came through the dreaded Christmas road trip with 7 out of 14 points. 50% I’ll take that any day. and I’m sure Montreal management is happy with that.” -Doug Kirkby

2. “You can say we played a great 55 minutes, but those last 5 were iffy. But Monty definitely was the star of the game for the Canadiens.” -Ryan Katz

1. “Goes to show you how much MSL has begun to trust Slaf….putting him out with 4 minutes left while its 6 on 5. He never used to do that. Slaf was always on the bench in tight games.” -Bob Taylor

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