BROOKLYN - Here are a few key storylines from Tuesday night's 6-2 win over the Islanders.
That's how you start a road trip!
The Canadiens certainly came to play in their final visit to Barclays Center.
Claude Julien's troops closed out the first period with three goals in a span of just over five minutes to take a commanding lead New York simply couldn't overcome.
The goals by Brendan Gallagher, Jeff Petry and Charles Hudon during the opening stanza chased starter Thomas Greiss from the net after 20 minutes in favor of Semyon Varlamov.
Paul Byron added a short-handed goal in the second period, and Jordan Weal and Joel Armia added markers in the third to cap the scoring.
"We played a really good road game against a team that works hard and comes out hard. Everyone played a big game, without Tuna, who's an important player for us," said Byron, referencing the fact that the Canadiens were deprived of Tatar's services due to an upper-body injury. "Everyone responded well, and it was a good effort."
Hudon's goal was particularly big for a few reasons.
In addition to being the game-winner, it was also the 25-year-old left-winger's first in the NHL ranks since November 10, 2018.
That snapped a 29-game goal drought dating back to last season.
"If you keep working hard, good things will happen for you. It was a good bounce for me and it went in," said Hudon, following the Canadiens' second win in a row. "It felt good, and it did some good."
While points have been hard to come by for Hudon at hockey's highest level, he isn't getting down on himself during this particular recall from the AHL's Laval Rocket.
"Since I came here, I've been focusing more on the positive than the negative," insisted Hudon. "Ice time, no ice time, I'm here to have fun and I'm having fun when I'm on the ice."
Julien was happy to see the former fifth-round selection light the lamp.
"It was good to see him score a goal. He's a sniper in the AHL. Showing the way he scored tonight, it was a great shot," praised Julien. "It was a big goal for us."
Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference @ NYI
Cause for concern
During his postgame media scrum, Artturi Lehkonen commented on the incident involving Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk during the third period.
While falling to the ice, Lehkonen's skate accidentally clipped Boychuk in the face.
"I watched the replay. It's a pretty scary situation. I feel terrible about it. I felt it right away that it hit somewhere high. I turned around and I really didn't know what to do," explained Lehkonen. "I hope he's alright. It's a scary scene and I hope it didn't hit the eye. It's an unfortunate accident."
Video: Artturi Lehkonen on the incident with Johnny Boychuk
Julien, who coached Boychuk with the Boston Bruins, was concerned for his former charge as well.
"It was real scary. I've coached for a lot of years and he's liked by everybody. He's a great person," mentioned Julien. "Myself and most of the players in the room right now are asking that same question [about his condition]. We'll hopefully keep the fingers crossed that it's not too dangerous."
During his postgame press conference, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz didn't provide an update on Boychuk's condition.
He indicated that Boychuk was being evaluated.
Julien will be back in 2020-21
General manager Marc Bergevin confirmed on Tuesday that Julien will be behind the Canadiens' bench next season.
The endorsement at the League's general managers' meetings meant a lot to him.
"It's nice to know that he still has a lot of confidence in our coaching staff. We're working hard. We're trying to make this team better," stated Julien. "There's a lot of good things you see from this team. The consistency of our game has been our biggest challenge this year, and the injuries have kind of thrown us off a little bit, but you've got to work through those kinds of things. That's what you've got to do."
For his part, Byron was pleased to learn that Julien would be remaining in his position.
"He's a great coach. We all like him in the room. It's good for the organization to give him that vote of confidence," said Byron. "I think things could have been a little bit different for us this year had a couple of streaks gone our way. That's the focus right now, just keep playing hard and keep playing the right way each game. If we can get the mentality of doing that every single night, it's going to make next year a lot better for our team."