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One down, 81 to go

In Featured, NHL News, Rob Elbaz by Rob Elbaz3 Comments

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.

Comments

  1. So far so good, indeed!

    Great first game against an up and coming, but still not fantastic, Sabres squad.

    Really disliked the Shaw game ending match penalty. Like, why? Up until that point, Shaw was having a great game and diving the Sabres crazy.

    There has been a lot of talk about leadership, from GM Bergevin and co., and this move by Shaw is certainly not something they want to see. It doesn’t set a good example and was COMPLETELY unnecessary.

    I’m sure Shaw will hear about it from the higher ups. That’s just not what they want from him.

    As for Sergachev, and even Montoya for that matter, I think we need to see a larger body of work before passing judgement. Remember that Mike Condon looked like a second coming last year for a short period of time. It’s when he was called on to play regularly that things fell apart.

    That said, I think Montoya has the goods to play 20-25 games and not leave the Habs reeling when he plays. The question is — and one that Habs fans hope they don’t need to get an answer to — what happens if Montoya has to play 40 games?

    But, for now, as you stated, Rob, there isn’t a lot to complain about after a first successful outing. On to Ottawa…where Price also won’t be playing.

    🙁

  2. I am a huge Habs fan and a win is a win ..but.
    GM His Highness of Arrogance and 2 Faced Statements (Bergevin) claims this team is built on speed and hockey smarts.
    I didn’t see much of it, Sabers came at us in terms of shots and play but failed in execution.
    The PP didn’t look any different.
    The 2nd line is in trouble…because I think Plek isn’t the guy that needs to be there.
    Still early but we shall see especially after/if Price is cured of his Chronic Knee Flu

    1. Author

      I feel your frustration, blue line looked pretty slow at times last night (Kane short-handed breakaway) and the middle 6 wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. Power play definitely left the most to be desired, but it’s game 1, the Habs earned two points, and hopefully they’re not blind to the areas that need improvement.

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