François Gagnon is Tweeting a contest: Who will score the Canadiens’ first goal of the season?
No winner until Sunday in Winnipeg … if then.
The Canadiens won the first period in Toronto: a 14-4 shot advantage, three lines clicking, well-organized defence.
But no goals.
It was too good to last, and it didn’t.
P.K. Subban pinched deep on a power-play.
Four Canadiens were caught behind the Toronto net.
Matthew Lombardi, who can skate, led a rush back up-ice and, unattended, scored a shorthanded goal less than a minute into the second period.
The Canadiens were never the same – especially after Chris Campoli got his skate caught in the ice and suffered what looked like a nasty lower-body injury. He left the ACC on crutches, and Damien Cox Tweeted a hamstring: out for three weeks.
So we’ll see Alexei Emelin in Winnipeg. And his size might have helped in Toronto.
Yannick Weber had to play D. And when Dion Phaneuf (who was very good) scored off a turnover by P.K. (who was not good at all), Jacques Martin began juggling his forward lines to no great effect and the Leafs coasted home behind James Reimer’s 32 saves – none of which were miraculous.
So Campoli is hurt. Blair Betts is hurt. Lars Eller isn’t ready to play.
And Andrei Markov’s return can’t come soon enough to help a power play that went 0-for-5. Jacques Martin wasn’t happy with slow puck movement and a tendency toward individual play on the PP.
Mike Komisarek had six hits. No Canadien had more than two (Max Pacioretty), and the Leafs had a 15-10 advantage.
It was also the quality of the hits. Toronto laid on some thumps. Colby Armstrong ran Carey Price. Toronto’s fourth line had two beasts, Jay Rosehill and Mike Brown. The Canadiens had Andreas Engqvist and Travis Moen, who had one hit, no shots and, as is frequently the case, no influence on the game.
Up front, Erik Cole was just about invisible and played only 1:04 on five PPs. AK46 showed flashes of brilliance, periods of somnambulance and took an O-zone penalty that won a third-period seat on the bench. Max Pacioretty wasn’t the factor he was last season or in training camp … but, I hasten to add, that will come.
The Antichambre gang are ranting about lack of intensity, lack of offence from the back end, lack of toughness, lack of emotion … the whole litany of Habs headaches.
But hey, it’s one game.
P.K. might not be that bad again all season.
Tomas Plekanec was excellent on the penalty-kill.
David Desharnais seemed to have the puck glued to his stick when he was on the ice.
Price was solid.
The Canadiens will be better in Winnipeg.
They might even score a goal.