Shall we start with the positives?
The Canadiens are 1-2-1 against teams that missed the playoffs last season.
Gotta look for the silver lining.
• Max Pacioretty, celebrating a goal in Allen McInnis‘s Gazette photo, had eight shots on goal. He played on a physical, exciting forward line with Andrei Kostitsyn (two shots, four hits) and the wizardly David Desharnais, whose 18:34 ToI at even-strength was high among Canadiens’ centres.
• Erik Cole played his best game as a Canadien. Cole had six hits (high on both teams) and made several clever plays along the boards and behind the Colorado net. He combined with Tomas Plekanec (four SoG) to form another forward line that brought the fans out of their seats several times last night.
• Brian Gionta had a goal, two assists and five S0G playing on what was the Canadiens’ third line.
• 10 players made the scoresheet.
• The Canadiens had 43 SoG and they weren’t all from the perimeter. That’s after 36 shots against Calgary, 32 against Toronto. The Canadiens have outshot their opponents in three of four games.
• The Canadiens scored five goals twice in a week. They reached or exceeded that total seven times all of last season – and only once over the last 27 games of the season.
The team seems to have three lines that can score. And the fire power will increase exponentially when Michael Cammalleri returns. Cammalleri would have had a hat trick last night with the chances Travis Moen was getting on the Scott Gomez line.
As for preventing goals …
Ah, do we really have to discuss that?
It’s Sunday. Can’t we just crack a cold one and watch football.
I guess not, eh?
As we waited outside the Canadiens room after the game last night, I had a chat with Ron Reusch, who has seen a lot of Canadiens hockey games.
“Did you think going into the season that Hal Gill and P.K. Subban would be the team’s worst defencemen?” the wise old owl asked.
My reply was “Did you think we’d be looking forward to the return of Jaroslav Spacek?”
Here’s today’s challenge: Think of a metaphor to describe how inept the Canadiens’ D has been.
I’ll get you started with a personal favourite: softer than a ballet slipper full of wet cow flop.
Alexei Emelin – who was, along with Raphael Diaz, the least awful of the Dmen – had four hits last night. Diaz had one, as did P.K. Subban.
Gorges, Gill and Yannick Weber combined for ZERO hits.
Because the Canadiens D is undersized – Gill plays like he’s 5’10″ – and lack sand, opponents throw the puck around and glide into good scoring positions without fear of paying any physical price in the Canadiens’ zone.
Emelin will hit. But we can’t expect Diaz and Weber to morph into Ed Van Impe and Scott Stevens.
Carey Price was not good last night. Except for the Winnipeg game, he hasn’t been good this season … and the Paul Stastny breakaway goal, off that egregious turnover by P.K., was a harbinger of what we saw in the Shootout.
Remember that Price quote about how happy he was to spoil the Jets’ party?
Karma has been biting The Franchise in the ass through the two games since.
But Price is playing behind what’s looking like one of the worst Ds in the league. And this week’s schedule includes Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
The absence of Andrei Markov is a killer, of course. So was the preseason injury to Chris Campoli.
I hate to say I told you so …
Wait, that’s BS. I LOVE to say I told you so.
But you don’t have to be Scotty Bowman or Tony Marinaro to realize Roman Hamrlik would look awfully good eating up minutes on the Canadiens’ blueline right now.
Washington gave Hamrlik a two-year contract at $3.5 million per – $2 million less than he made here for carrying the D through Markov’s absences.
Calgary got four goals on 21 shots, Colorado five on 30.
Again, Price has not been stellar. But playing against the Canadiens’ vanilla defence, opponents are getting a whole lot of good looks at the net. And forwards at this level bury their chances.
Buffalo, at Pittsburgh, Toronto.
And it doesn’t get easier: Philadelphia at home and at Boston back-to-back, then Bruins at the Bell Centre to round out the month.
And if the Canadiens enter November in the nether regions of the Eastern Conference and needing a win streak to rejoin the leaders …
Hey, it’s Sunday.
Are you ready for some football?
How about a pick-me-up from Yoshi: