About Last Night: Habs thrash Sens as trade deadline looms

Jake Allen made 29 saves in the win. It’s the last game the Canadiens will play before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

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Eleven different Habs hit the scoresheet in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Center on Saturday night.

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Jake Evans was the only one with two points on the night. Jake Allen made 29 saves for the win in his second game back from injury. It’s the final game the Canadians will play before Monday’s trade deadline.

The team welcomed back Jonathan Drouin to the lineup after being out since Jan. 20 with a wrist injury. He played 13:57 and was held pointless. Game-time decision Josh Anderson suited up after missing two games, while Brendan Gallagher was out with a lower-body injury. The Senators were without defenseman Thomas Chabot, who’s out the remainder of the season with a fractured hand.

Prior to puck drop, the Bell Center welcomed members of the gold medal winning Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team:

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Evans opened scoring late in the first period with the kind of top shelf snipe he’s not necessarily known for. Artturi Lehkonen assisted on the play.

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With just over a minute remaining in the first, and with Jeff Petry in the box for a second time, Colin White set up Josh Norris for a one-timer in a wide open net. It was 1-1 after the opening frame.

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The Habs scored three unanswered goals in the second period. Evans floated a pass to Michael Pezzetta, who sprang Byron in alone on goalie Filip Gustavsson. Byron, who’s been looking more like himself lately after missing most of the season, scored his second.

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Less than two minutes later, Cole Caufield scored his 13th on the season with a toe drag shot that’s starting to look pretty familiar. It was 3-1 Habs.

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Unfamiliar face on the power play Corey Schueneman made the most of his audition with man-advantage, firing a shot from the point that was tipped in front by Joel Armia and past Gustavsson. It was Armia’s first goal in nine games and only his second in 28. The Habs were up 4-1 after 40 minutes.

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Brett Kulak scored the game’s final goal at 8:14 of the third period. He showed off some slick moves coming in from the point and roofed it with a casual release to make it 5-1 Montreal.

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Jake Allen saved his best stop for the end of the night, robbing Brady Tkachuk all alone in front with a glove save. To add insult to injury, Tkachuk and Erik Brannstrom collided into each other trying to body check Evans. There was a frightening moment for Habs fans late when Rem Pitlick went down after getting the worst of a check he initiated, but he returned to the bench and finished the contest.

With the win over the Senators in the rearview, all eyes in Habland now turn to Monday’s trade deadline. After seeing the strong returns for Brandon Hagel, Hampus Lindholm and Claude Giroux, the buyers appear ready to load up for their playoff runs. Perhaps general manager Kent Hughes will find a team willing to meet his asking price for Artturi Lehkonen, or be able to unload an underachiever on a pick-stingy bargain hunter.

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One addition they won’t be making before then: the signing of defenseman Jordan Harris will have to wait, as his school Northeastern qualified for the NCAA Division I men’s hockey tournament.

The Liveblog commenters enjoyed the win while wondering whether they’ve seen the last of some of these players. Even if the season failed to meet expectations, some of the outbound players were part of the first Habs team to make the finals this century and will be missed.

3. “I think Caufield might get back into the Calder conversation…Is that even possible?” -Arthur Chilli

2. “Watching this team play now, just makes me anticipate next season even more… may not be ready to contend for top honours, but we are looking competitive… (okay, i know there is only one way to go when you are at rock bottom, but at least we aren’t still digging deeper!)” -Haari Meech

1. “We are allowed to enjoy this one. The run in here looks very difficult. Great team performance and I am loath to pick an individual, but Allen was superb tonight. I do wonder who might not be here come Monday night.” -Curtis Ault

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