Subban, Habs, Smash Wild

The Montreal Canadiens came away from Minnesota with a much-needed confidence boost. With so many players missing due to injury and a tough schedule ahead things were looking bleak.

However, the Habs’ youngsters stepped up and smashed the Wild, 8-1, with PK Subban claiming his first career hat-trick along with other young stars showing their potential.

Subban is one of Montreal’s brightest stars, but has received criticism for his overconfidence.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards has little time for Subban. In a radio interivew in November Richards said: “He’s a guy that’s come in the league and hasn’t earned respect.”

Despite Subban’s confident or cocky demeaner, the young defenseman will certainly earn a lot of respect following three strikes against Minnestoa last night.

With Andrei Markov missing, the Habs have been struggling to find any offense from their blue line. A lot of pressure has been put on Subban, but he seems to be flourishing lately alongside Hal Gill. The veteran’s vast experience seems to be rubbing off on Subban, whose three goals and assist against Minnesota appeared to come without so much as a sweat being broken.

Subban is maturing quickly and his attitude after the game was humble, concentrating on the team rather than his personal milestone.

“I never thought in a million years that I would get a hat trick in an NHL game,” he said. “It was just one of those nights where we played well as a team and stuck to the game plan the whole night.”

It is important to put Subban’s hat-trick into perspective. The Wild had committed too many bad penalties, lacked concentration at vital points of the game and found it near impossible to beat Alex Auld despite registering 31 shots on goal. They eventually find the net, as Mikko Koivu struck with a penalty shot after 52 minutes of play, but Auld had a terrific and confident game, despite a depleted Habs roster in front of him. Although Kouvu spoiled Auld’s first shutout of the season, the 30-year-old looked very composed, filling the void left by Carey Price on his long-overdue night off.

Another young star made a name for himself in the dismantling of Minnesota. Ryan White scored his first NHL goal after just 31 seconds into the contest. White also dropped the gloves with Clayton Stoner and grabbed an assist on Subban’s hat-trick goal to wrap up a Gordie Howe hat-trick. Former Wild forward Benoit Pouliot and David Desharnais grabbed three assists each and their confidence could be vital as the Canadiens may be without Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty for some time.

In the summer of 2009, Habs coach Jacques Martin brought in Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and Scott Gomez to build his new Canadiens’ team around. However, nearly two years on, the big three aren’t the ones making the headlines in Montreal.

Although Montreal has closed the gap with Boston to a single point, the Bruins have two games in hand over the Habs. It is about to get tough for the Canadiens as their next five games see the battered roster take on Buffalo, Boston, Washington, Atlanta and Carolina.

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