WINNIPEG - Here are a few key storylines from Monday night's 6-2 win over the Jets at Bell MTS Place.
Reason to smile
Claude Julien's troops have every reason to be proud of themselves for their effort over the last four games in Western Canada.
With a big victory in Manitoba - along with triumphs last week in Vancouver and Calgary - they're coming home with six out of a possible eight points.
In short, Julien's players have certainly earned their three-day Christmas break.
"It's kind of nice to go into this thing feeling good about ourselves. I've had the opposite where you lose a few games and it kind of eats at you. You're able to enjoy Christmas a little more this way," said right-winger Brendan Gallagher, who will spend the next few days with his family in British Columbia. "Then when we come back, another three very, very critical games."
For now, though, it's important to enjoy some well-deserved downtime with loved ones.
"It's really nice to head into the break with a win," said left-winger Tomas Tatar, who registered his 14th and 15th goals of the season versus Winnipeg. "It's huge. That gives you a lot of confidence and a lot of smiles. We finished this road trip well and we're really happy about it."
Video: Tomas Tatar on the smarts of Nick Suzuki
The Canadiens will reconvene on Friday when they travel to Tampa to kick off a three-game road trip with contests against the Lightning (December 28), the Florida Panthers (December 29) and the Carolina Hurricanes (December 31) to close out the calendar year.
A huge trip for Max
All four of the Canadiens' opponents in Western Canada couldn't keep Max Domi off the scoresheet.
The 24-year-old Winnipeg native registered three goals and six points during the trip, including a goal and an assist against the Jets.
It appears that his game is back on track.
"He's starting to get his confidence with the puck back, and even his patience with the puck at times is there. He's hanging onto it a little bit more, and he's shooting it a little bit more," explained Julien. "All of a sudden, you see a guy who's offensive game is coming around."
Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference in Winnipeg
To put things into perspective, Domi had just three assists in seven games in December before the Canadiens flew to BC.
Gallagher is thrilled to see him delivering the goods again.
"He's a player that once he gets going, they're going to continue to go for him. He's an energy player. He feeds off it," said Gallagher. "I think being here in front of the fans out west, it doesn't get old. It's pretty special the way these guys come out and support us. I think he probably fed off that a little bit as well. It's definitely nice to see him feel good about himself."
Video: Brendan Gallagher on a successful road trip
Job well done, Nick!
Rookie Nick Suzuki had a productive road trip as well, chipping in with another two assists on Monday night.
His first assist, in particular, was a real thing of beauty.
The 20-year-old London, ON native fed Tatar for the Canadiens' first goal of the night on the power play.
"He's a great passer," praised Tatar. "Suzi is a skilled player. We've already scored a few goals on those kinds of plays."
Why are things clicking for Suzuki right now? It's all a matter of experience and the poise that comes with it.
"I'm gaining confidence each game. I'm just trying to feel my way through this league," explained Suzuki, who has seven goals and 19 points thus far this season. "I know I didn't have the best start to the season, but I'm just learning new things each day in practice and games. I'm trying to watch video postgame and just trying to learn what kind of space I have and what plays I'm able to make. I think it's been getting better each game."
Video: Nick Suzuki on playing with more confidence
Julien definitely agrees with that assessment.
"He had a good trip. He made good decisions with the puck. He's calm, but he also created scoring chances. He's really good and intelligent on the power play," praised Julien. "I wanted a little more from him at even-strength, and that's what he's starting to do. He's showing good qualities there. It's important in his evolution."