Montreal Canadiens hockey is back and does it ever feel good!
One game into the season and we already seem to have answers to some burning questions:
Can Al Montoya do the job when Carey Price needs a night off? Yes.
Can the first line of Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, and Gallagher be as creative and dynamic as they looked towards the end of last season? You bet.
Is Mikhail Sergachev going to look out of place on the blue line? Sometimes, but not more than most third pair defensemen.
How will the big new additions, Weber, Shaw, and Radulov, fit in?
Weber looked good all night, throwing his weight around, blasting (and missing the net by a pretty wide margin) one-timers on the power play, setting up Gallagher for a nice deflection, and finishing the night a healthy +3. The only knock against him was the penalty he took to breathe life back into the Sabres.
Andrew Shaw was noticeable as well, picking up a goal with linemate Daniel Carr crowding Robin Lehner’s crease. But, as advertised, discipline was also an issue for Shaw. He took a major penalty and game misconduct at the end of the match for a slew foot on Johan Larsson, and the threat of a suspension looms.
Alexander Radulov is a bit more enigmatic. The second line of Lehkonen, Plekanec, and Radulov was fairly quiet through two periods, but seemed to come alive in the third. Despite being held off the scoresheet, Radulov made his presence felt by stepping up to former Canadien Josh Gorges after Torrey Mitchell injured himself by falling into the defender’s knee.
All in all, it’s pretty hard to be disappointed with the way the Habs performed in their season opener. If there’s any reason to worry, it may be that the power play didn’t exactly fire on all cylinders, and Al Montoya needed to come up big on a shorthanded breakaway by the speedy Evander Kane.
Be that as it may, the Habs leave Buffalo with a convincing 4-1 victory and two points in the bag. So far, so good.