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?
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.