Close But No Cigar

The Canadiens lost game one of this regular season, but in doing so may have shown fans that maybe we can start breathing a little easier about certain things.

It was a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Toronto ice, but it was also a game that saw Carey Price play a good, steady game that should quiet his critics for one night at least. Price stopped 21 of 24 shots, many of the difficult type, and looked confident and steady throughout.

Lars Eller, who came to the team in a certain huge summer deal, played with poise, and if he can have a banner year along with Price, the name Halak may be banished forever after – except when the subject of the 2009-10 playoffs comes up. Add to the positive vibe is the fact that newcomers Dustin Boyd and Jeff Halpern were Montreal’s goal scorers on this night.

PK Subban was on fire and if he brings this to the table on most nights, the league should quickly give the youngster the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and be done with it. Subban skated, thumped, blasted away, and played like he’s been in the league for years. What a delight seeing a kid play with passion and abandon the way he does.

Montreal’s biggest problem on this night was missing key guys. Mike Cammalleri was sitting out his one game suspension of course, and Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik, nursing wounded knees, would have added so much oomph, not only from a defensive aspect but also on the power play, which went 0 for 3 on this night.

Price did his job and the new guys did their’s. But those who are expected to score didn’t and when that happens, Carey Price can stand on his head and the role players can do everything a role player is asked to do, but the team will still lose. Surely, from the combination of Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Benoit Pouliot, Andre Kostitsyn, and Tomas Plekanec, one would bulge the twine.

We need these guys to do what they’re paid to do.

That’s all it would have taken – a goal or two from this list, and Leaf fans would be crying in their creme of maple leaf soup right now. Pouliot assisted on Halpern’s goal but that’s as good as it gets from the offensive guys being offensive. Although most of the above had chances.

But chances don’t give us two points. Finishing the chances do.

These are two big points missed. I know it might sound silly and slightly paranoid to say that, as it’s just game one, but it’s true. And now the Leafs are ahead of us in the standings. How embarrassing is that?

Random Notes:

Montreal edged the Leafs in shots on goal – 25 to 24.

Did you notice how long it took Leaf fans to return to their seats after each period? I saw massive blocks of empty seats that only got filled after about eight minutes gone. The lineups at the beer counters must have been massive. Maybe they hired really slow servers at the Air Canada Centre. Ticket prices in Toronto are near or at the top of the league, and these folk who forked out hundreds of bucks only saw half the game.

Next up – Canadiens in Pittsburgh. We need the scorers to score. We need a big win against Crosby and company. And we don’t need any more injuries. Just three little things.

13 thoughts on “Close But No Cigar”

  1. Losing to the Leafs, it doesn’t get any worse than that.

    I forgot how pro-Leaf the CBC play-by-play is. It was if they were the only team on the ice.

  2. Chris – not only that, Glenn Healy, who was a mediocre goalie, suddenly has all the answers on how to be a good goaltender. “Price should do this and do that.” All the things Healy didn’t do when he was playing.

  3. Being mediocre in Toronto gives Healy all the credentials he needed to become HNIC’s expert.

  4. Im glad to see im not the only one who notices how one sided the HNIC announcing really is. Can you say homers? lol. Alot of those hockey analysts are guys of Glen Healys caliber. I dont know if you have ever heard Nick Kypreos talk? for a guy thats nothing more then a grinder that apparently wasnt to good at fighting. he seems to have all the answers for everything and everybody. Im glad to see nobody is ripping on Carey Price on here yet. I cant believe how hard the fans and press are on him. The pressure put on him to win creates standards no athlete can achieve hes still young and still needs time like every other young goalie does. Hes only 23 years old. Mikka Kiprusoff , Roberto Luongo and Jaques Plante didnt hit their full potential till 26 – 28 years old. Remember hes only played 12 regular season games in the AHL with a record of 7-5. Not every goalie is a Broduer or a Roy. I also wouldnt be hitting the panic button to early on the Halak deal. If it wasnt for a great string of hockey in the playoffs, I dont think many would have been to concerned with Halak being dealt. His regular season stats are not overly impressive and for all anybody knows he will be a bust in st.louis. Im not saying hes a bad goalie by any means, i guess my point is that he is fairly unproven. Im sure some completely disagree with me but in my opinion one good post season does not create a star.

  5. You’re right, Jordy, homers galore in Toronto. Even Cherry. Especially Cherry. And Price looked just fine to me tonight. Made me feel great. The boys have to get him some goals so he can rack up the wins. He can do a whole lot better than last year and he will. Once his confidence starts, he’ll make a nice gradual transition into a great goalie. I think. I hope.

  6. i agree totally with jordy on the halak situation……. it is always disheartening when WE lose the leafs…….. WE need more than 2 goals a game. hope this will not be an ongoing problem again. it shouldn’t be.

  7. I think we did okay considering we were missing a few top guys and Price did look good. In my opinion however and being a goalie from a long time ago who had Bobby Baun score on me on a breakaway, it appeared to me that Price was playing low a bit too much. Even Patrick Roy knew that the butterfly didn’t always work. I’m sure we can make up for this loss in game two and put a tear the “the kid’s” eye.

  8. I agree with all comments above. I’m not too worried. It is mostly embarrassing than frustrating. Losing to TO hurts but its only game one. We we missing so talent, a lot more talent than TO has on the ice. I was surprised by Elers, Halpern and others. Too early yet and it will be TO who will be on the playoff bubble and not us. Pitts will be tough but we’ll see. Good to have hockey back.

  9. Would have been nice to win, Mayo, but like you say, we’re missing guys and it’s early. I’m the most happiest about Price and how well he looked. It wasn’t a disaster by a long shot.

  10. Hey Mikey D, all’s well in Habs universe. But it would be so great if the Habs clobber the Pens and Price plays well again. A win against TO would’ve been nice, though.

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