Montreal Canadiens Must-Watch Games in April 2022

April will mercifully close out the 2021-22 season for the Montreal Canadiens. After only eight wins in their first 44 games, a playoff berth was almost an impossibility. One reason for the club’s historic collapse from Stanley Cup Finalist to battling for 32nd place could have been due to the coach losing the room, another is that they became the team with the most man-games lost in NHL history due to multiple injuries and multiple COVID-19 isolations.

However, since the arrival of interim head coach Martin St. Louis, the Habs have found new life. With new leadership behind the bench, the Canadiens have rediscovered a winning culture. While the team may be out-skilled, they have not been outworked in his short tenure. His penchant for giving the team’s youth confidence has been a direct reason for the offensive resurgence of Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki. While the season is coming to an end at the end of April, there are still some quality matchups Habs fans can look forward to.

Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs – April 9

This game is simply a classic Hockey Night in Canada matchup, especially on a Saturday night. It renews the tradition of hockey fans in Canada sitting down and watching a historic rivalry play out. No matter where either team is in the standings at any time, they always play each other as if it were a playoff game. Of course, there will also be the incessant coverage from the mainstream, Toronto-based media of how Auston Matthews will somehow become Jake Allen’s worst nightmare.

Jake Allen Montreal Canadiens
Jake Allen, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This game will be the final meeting between the two teams, also, it will be a rematch after the Canadiens beat Toronto handily in the last two meetings by scores of 5-2 and 4-2 respectively. Currently, the Canadiens lead the season series 2-1 and a victory in this matchup would guarantee the Habs a rare regular-season series win. It would also mark their second straight series win vs the Maple Leafs, the last one being the first round of the 2021 Playoffs where they were down 3-1. Winning this game not only wins the season series but also gives Montreal fans another reason to use the term “it was 3-1.”

Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals – April 16

One storyline that Canadiens fans can watch in this game is the continuing saga of Alex Ovechkin and his chosen path to becoming the greatest goal scorer in NHL history. As of Sunday, April 3, 2022, Ovechkin sits at 772 goals scored, 29 behind “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe. While it is highly unlikely he can get to that mark this season, any game hockey fans can enjoy watching one of history’s greatest goal scorers play is a special treat.

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In the last head-to-head matchup, the Washington Capitals made quick work of the Canadiens, winning 5-2. That game was also St. Louis’ first behind the bench as an NHL head coach. This is the rematch and final meeting of the season for these two teams and having lost both previous games, no matter the outcome, the Capitals have won this season’s series.

Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins – April 24

As rivalries are born in the playoffs, the Canadiens’ true rivals must be the Boston Bruins as these two franchises have met in the playoffs more often than any other two franchises in NHL history. It’s a game that can also provide the Habs’ young core of players such as Alexander Romanov, a benchmark game to which they can measure their progress against a perennial playoff contender manned by veteran stars.

Alexander Romanov Montreal Canadiens
Alexander Romanov, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Watching the “Perfection Line” of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak continue their statistical dominance as one of the best possession lines in the NHL can also be a great treat. Especially as the Canadiens are developing a top-line two-way center in Suzuki who idolized Bergeron and grew up patterning his game to that style. Also, Pastrnak is one of the top shooters in the game who is a consistent 35 to 50 goal threat, someone that Caufield can learn from. These two lines will be a fun matchup to watch.

Canadiens at New York Rangers – April 27

This matchup will be intriguing. Canadiens fans are interested to see how the Habs under St. Louis compare to the New York Rangers. New York is nearing the end of its rebuild, the majority of which was constructed by Canadiens’ executive vice president Jeff Gorton before he was dismissed in 2021.

Fans can also look to this game as a preview of what the Habs’ blueline could look like once general manager Kent Hughes modernizes the defense corps with youth and mobility like New York has done. Also, it’s always interesting to watch how the development of a top draft pick like Alexis Lafreniere is coming along, especially as Canadiens fans are hoping for the top pick in the 2022 Draft. Seeing how a top prospect can take time to develop should help ease the pressure on whomever Hughes selects this summer.

Any Canadiens game coached by St. Louis makes them a must-watch as the team is always able to mount comebacks and at the very least, make any matchup exciting and entertaining. The games noted above all provide an additional storyline that can only add to the entertainment value for the fans as the season comes to a close.

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