About last night …

The Canadiens hid the two points in their luggage and flew out of Minneapolis-St. Paul before the cops got to the rink.

It was a W, it counts in the standings and there’s no extradition treaty with Long Island covering Grand Theft Hockey.

It’s a long season. Teams – including yor Montreal Canadiens – win a few games they don’t deserve to.

But circle Nov. 8 on your calendar and jot down this prediction: If the Canadiens give the Leafs 10 power-play opportunities at the ACC, they’re not going to win 2-1.

Better still, circle the 26th. The Canadiens are in Detroit, like St. Paul,a city in the U.S. midwest. But unlike the Wild, the Red Wings won’t take an 0-for on 10 power plays – including three 5-on-3s.

You can play like that if Carey Price is your goaltender – but not often, and not against quality opponents.

Do you figure the Wild miss Marian Gaborik on their power play?

Price’s GAA is 1.91. His save percentage is .937. He’s won five games, and his one L is due only to the NHL’s odd system.

But the numbers don’t tell the full story. In his second year in the NHL, Price is a dominant goaltender: cool, confident, in control at all times.

Price’s positioning is flawless.  He’s quick as a cat in his lateral movements.

If this guy spends his career in Montreal, the Canadiens and their fans are laughing for 15 years. And no one could figure out why the team drafted him.

Nor did anyone think Josh Gorges was more than a throw-in in the deal that sent Craig Rivet to San Jose for a draft choice that turned into Max Pacioretty. Gorges played 21 minutes last night, including a team-leading 8:33 while the Caadiens were shorthanded.

No fewer than 13 players racked up significant PK minutes. That offers a clue as to why the units were effective: fresh legs means energy and active sticks.

Price credited his defence corps with keeping the Wild to the outside so he could see every shot. The D had a terrific night and chipped in with both goals, by Francis Bouillon and the incomparable Andrei Markov.

The forwards? Not such a terrific night.

The Saku Koivu-Alex Tanguay-Guillaume Latendresse line continues to be the team’s best. Tanguay had two assists, the Captain played great in front of his parents and Gui! bounced back with some decent puck-holding in the o-zone.

I thought Tomas Plekanec played a great game. Hisd 5:14 on the PK was high among forwards, and he’s skating is heart out. The goals will come, as will the assists with his highly-skilled linemates.

The RDS guys were a bit hard on Tom Kostopoulos, but the fourth line worked hard all night. Given Mathie Dandenault’s speed and versatility, I don’t foresee many starts for Steve Bégin. And Georges Laraque will be used strictly as a deterrent; he wasn’t missed last night.

The Robert Lang line is struggling. Christopher Higgins shows no ill effects of his layoff, but Sergei Kostitsyn has been in a funk since his brother took that awful hit.

Carbo is usingSK74 on the right point in one of the PP alignments, with Markov on the left and the Pleks line up front. Maybe this will get the kid in gear. On RDS after the game, Joël bouchard said Sergei  has to stop thinkinghe’s Aex Kovalev. He’d like to see him skate hard, finish his checks and play with intensity to complement his abundant skill and elevate his game.

None of the lines were able to develop much rhythm or flow because of the parade to the penalty box. Beginning with a tripping call on Robert Lang six minutes into the second period, the Canadiens took SEVEN consecutive penalties.

Absurd. And we’re not talking about message-sending physical play. It was all lazy, undisciplined crap. Guy Carbonneau will have much to discuss with the boys when they look at video.

But again, it’s a long season. And it’s a young team. Last night’s unlikely win was a near-death experience and an opportunity for Carbo, a great coach, to do some teaching.

The team is in Long Island today and plays the woeful Islanders tomorrow evening.

 


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