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MTL@STL: About Saturday afternoon...

The Canadiens' power play was a key to victory against the Blues in St. Louis

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

ST. LOUIS - Here a few key storylines from Saturday afternoon's 5-2 win over the Blues at the Enterprise Center.

The PP just keeps on clicking…

The Canadiens' power play certainly delivered the goods against the defending Stanley Cup champs.

Claude Julien's contingent scored twice while up a man - and both markers were significant.

Thrust into action after Joel Armia suffered a lower-body injury during the pre-game warmup, Jordan Weal opened the scoring to get the Habs on the board first just six minutes into the opening frame.

Video: MTL@STL: Weal sweeps home rebound for power-play goal

The other power play snipe came courtesy of Jonathan Drouin early in the second period, and it ultimately proved to be the game-winner.

It was the third consecutive game in which the Canadiens found the back of the net with the man advantage, and the first time this year they'd netted multiple goals under those circumstances in a single contest.

Video: MTL@STL: Drouin one-times Kotkaniemi's pass for PPG

So how does assistant captain Brendan Gallagher explain the group's success with the man advantage?

"It's just simplified. We said it all last year. When you lose your confidence like we had last year, everything slows down - and when it slows down, the penalty killers are able to react. And this year I think we've just simplified it. Everyone has a job, everyone knows what they're supposed to do, and things just seem to happen quicker," said Gallagher, following the Canadiens' second straight win. "That's usually when you can find some seams and find some lanes, and we were able to put a few in the net."

Video: MTL@STL: Gallagher scores from the point early in 2nd

For his part, Julien attributes the turnaround to more familiarity between players assigned to accomplish the all-important task.

"There's no doubt. We've been saying it all along, we need our power play to be better this year. We worked on it. Guys seems to have better chemistry, having been together more or less for over a year now," said Julien, who has watched his power play operate at an impressive 25.8% clip through eight games. "We had a good start to it, the confidence is there, and we've just got to stay on top of it."

Interestingly enough, the Canadiens have been held without a power play goal in just one game so far this season.

As for the Habs' penalty kill, it deserves some serious love, too. The Blues were 0-for-7 with the man advantage.

Thumbs up, Nick!

After scoring his first career NHL goal earlier in the week against the Minnesota Wild, youngster Nick Suzuki scored again on Saturday during the Canadiens' three-goal outburst in the second period.

The 20-year-old London, ON native was the beneficiary of a perfect feed from Nate Thompson, and proceeded to bury the puck past Blues starter Jake Allen.

Video: MTL@STL: Suzuki chips one-timer top shelf

Suzuki's bench boss isn't just impressed by his offensive game, though, having utilized him in every conceivable situation versus St. Louis - at even-strength (9:41), on the power play (4:13) and on the penalty kill (1:36).

"He continues to improve every game and gain confidence. We see the quality of his game more and more," praised Julien. "He's a player with a good hockey IQ. He's really intelligent. He's really alert. Those are gifts you have as a hockey player. He positions himself well. He does good work. Eventually we're going to have a very complete player."

'This team's capable of a lot'

Weal wasn't expecting to suit up against Craig Berube's contingent, of course, but everything ultimately worked out for the best in his case.

When he found out that he was in, he did a little self-talk and went about his business come puck drop.

"Just don't freak out and be calm, and just do what you've got to do. Help the team get two points," responded Weal, when asked what he told himself before hitting the ice in Missouri. "That's what we did today. We had a solid 60-minute effort from everyone out there and got a big win."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Deux de suite!������ in a row!#GoHabsGo

Just how big was the victory? According to Gallagher, it's another indicator of the resilience of this edition of the Canadiens.

"This team has never lacked confidence. Whether we've been going through good times or bad times around here, we believe in each other as a team that when we play like we can, we can go into any building and find a way to win," said Gallagher, who also lit the lamp behind Allen on Saturday to move to within one point of 300 for his NHL career. "Obviously it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of effort, but this team's capable of a lot. Hopefully, we're just getting started."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Mission accomplie �� St. Louis. ���Mission accomplished in St. Louis.#GoHabsGo

As for Armia's status, Julien confirmed that the Finnish forward is day-to-day. There's a chance, though, that he could be in the lineup against Minnesota on Sunday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center.

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