Destroyed by the score of 9 to 2 by the Washington Capitals, Saturday at Capital One Arena, the Montreal Canadiens seem ready to leave the year 2022 behind him.
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It will be difficult to draw positive conclusions from this one-sided duel. In its last game of the year, the Habs suffered their most severe defeat of the campaign.
Dominated by hungry "Caps", the CH could not count on Jake Allen to get by. The New Brunswick goaltender, obviously not on his plate, yielded nine times in 38 shots. He looked particularly bad on the hosts' seventh goal, scored by Marcus Johansson.
Unsurprisingly, Alexander Ovechkin was the Canadian's biggest torturer, scoring a hat trick. As usual, he found the back of the net twice with powerful one-timers. He then completed his hat-trick by beating Allen on the breakaway. The Muscovite thus scored his 804th, 805th and 806th career goals.
One of the most promising heirs to number 8, Cole Caufield, was the only CH player to do well in defeat. He hit the target twice to bring his total to 21 goals this season.
Did Martin St-Louis' men think about their plans for New Year's Eve at the start of the game? The "Caps" took advantage of the Habs' many moments of distraction, in the first five minutes of the game, to take a 2-0 lead.
None other than Erik Gustafsson came to haunt his former side with just 32s up. The Swedish defender, who is riding at breakneck speed with six goals and 12 points in his last seven games, completed a tic-tac-toe to open the scoring.
Garnet Hathaway, Nic Dowd, Dylan Strome, Marcus Johansson and Anthony Mantha then added their two cents to participate in the offensive festival.
Since the start of his five-game losing streak, the Canadian has conceded 26 goals and only scored eight.
He will be entitled to a few days off before visiting the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday.