By Apron Basu (The Athletic)

MONTREAL — To fully understand the complicated puzzle Montreal Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis will face heading into his third full season behind the bench, a brief synopsis of the day of his team’s final game of the 2023-24 season is necessary.

Before the game, defenceman David Savard was speaking to reporters about winning the Jacques Beauchamp Trophy, awarded to the team’s unsung hero of the season. Savard is entering the final year of his contract and will turn 34 roughly two weeks into the next season. There is an urgency for Savard that is not the same for many of his teammates.

“I believe next year we have the group to make the playoffs,” he said. “That’s my goal in September: to get here, stay in Montreal and get to the playoffs. I want to experience that once in my life, to be in the playoffs in Montreal. It would be pretty special to wear that uniform in the playoffs. I saw it as a fan, and I think the city goes pretty crazy, so it would be fun to see it from the right side of things.”

The Canadiens scored a go-ahead goal against the Detroit Red Wings in Tuesday’s third period. It was set up by Lane Hutson, who was playing his second career game, and tipped in by Juraj Slafkovský, who was playing his 121st game. It was Slafkovský’s 20th goal of the season, earning him a $250,000 bonus. Slafkovský and Hutson were drafted in 2022, the Nos. 1 and 62 picks; it was the first NHL Draft engineered by the current administration led by Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes.

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