The Canadiens’ second line buried Detroit before the Red Wings ever caught their breath.

By Scott Matla –

Coming off quite possibly the most frustrating loss of the season, the Montreal Canadiens needed a big response from their players, and a trio of players delivered in spades. By the end of the lopsided game, the line of Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Drouin, and Max Domi had put together an incredible performance.

Shaw has been proving just how valuable he is to the Montreal lineup when he’s healthy (and not in the penalty box), and continues to pile up points despite missing time with various injuries. Against the Red Wings, he completed his first career NHL hat trick, and while it wasn’t flashy, it was due to him getting himself into the dirty areas for his teammates. That’s what he was expected to do when Montreal sent two draft picks to Chicago for him, and after years of injuries and discipline issues, it seems like the Canadiens have the best version of Shaw playing for them.

Shaw’s career highs are 20 goals and 39 points, and based on his current output he should surpass both of those marks this year. His presence is creating space for Domi and Drouin, and together something with that line just clicks. It’s happening at a key time for the Canadiens.

Drouin posted perhaps the quietest four-point night in history. With a big night, he’s also closing in on a new career high in points, and should easily set a new total. Last night’s version was the Drouin that Claude Julien is hoping to see more often: smart, simple plays that lead to goals and offensive chances. While Drouin has the ability to make the highlight-reel plays — and he does quite often — keeping his game simple and using his linemates’ strengths creates his best games.

Finally there was Domi, who posted two goals and three assists in one of the best individual performances by a Montreal player this season. He used his speed to exploit a miserable performance by the Red Wings’ defence, and showcased his dynamic playmaking to set up his teammates for goals.

Even his first goal was a great bit of work as Domi collected the puck and patiently found his spot before ripping the puck home. Though he’s been through some small slumps Domi continues to be the heart and soul of the Montreal offence.

When Domi’s on his game, that lineis hard to contain. Just ask the Red Wings.