Let’s hear it for the PhD line.
Appropriately scholarly, because Jeff Halpern and Mathieu Darche are graduates of Princeton and McGill, respectively.
Magna cum laude from the School of Hard Knocks.
Benny lost his father when he was still in junior hockey.
He lost his mojo in Minnesota after being the Wild’s first-round choice, fourth overall (just ahead of Carey Price) in 2005.
After a promising start with the Canadiens, Pouliot lost his confidence. He bounced from one line to another, went months without scoring.
Then Jacques Martin put Benny with two hard-working veterans, and the line caught fire.
Pouliot and Halpern have each scored four goals. Darche has two (in nine games).
Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez have one goal each.
Mike Cammalleri has three.
Ostensibly the third line, PhD is carrying the Canadiens. Jacques Martin lauded their “simple and very efficient” play.
Oh, and Carey Price was excellent. Again.
Price kept the Canadiens in the game through an early Buffalo flurry, during which the Sabres had a 10-2 shot advantage.
Really, we couldn’t have hoped for a better early season from Price. The Canadiens are the only team in the league that hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game – and that requires good goaltending.
• Andrei Kostitsyn played really well with G&G, his new linemates. Four shots on goal, three misses (a couple of which should have been goals) two blocked. As has been the case in almost every game, AK46 skated, hit and looked interested.
• Mike Cammalleri had five shots. The goals will come. And I liked the new power-play alignment, featuring Cammalleri and Andrei Markov at the points.
• The PK was perfect on four disadvantages. Great stuff, but the Buffalo PP is a tragedy.
• The Canadiens were 25-32 on faceoffs. Against a better team than the Sabres, that would have meant chazsing the puck all night.
• Every player on the roster, except Lars Eller, played double-digit minutes. That will mean legs against Ottawa.
• Jaro Spacek played a manageable 16:20 and save for being caught on Buffalo’s first goal, was pretty solid.
• Gomez and AK46 were minus-2.
• What was with Gomez stopping on a breakaway? You don’t see that every day.
• 14 Canadiens had shots on goal, just 11 Sabres
• Trailing 1-0 on home ice, Buffalo had four SoG in the third period. Pathetic.
• The Antichambre gang talked about MAB. Please.