It was a simple enough game plan. Beat Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers, the team that ended the boys’ playoff hopes and dreams last spring.
Win and it would mean a breathtaking 7 wins and 1 loss out of the gate.
And win the Montreal Canadiens did, with a score of 3-1 over the visiting Blueshirts, and now it’s the big silver bird west to Edmonton on Monday, Calgary Tuesday, and Vancouver on Thursday.
It’s a good thing the western swing begins in Alberta and not Vancouver. The West Coast is preparing to batten down the hatches for hurricane-type weather, and a hurricane outside and a Habs hurricane inside just wouldn’t be fair to the locals.
Carey Price was brilliant on numerous occasions on this Saturday night at the Bell. His glove hand flew out like a striking snake, with more than a handful of Rangers’ quick and close-in shots swallowed up by Price’s trapper.
It was Price’s show, not Lundqvist’s. All part of the perfect game plan.
Finally the Canadiens would open the scoring, something they had managed only one other time in this early part of the season. And it was done in style when Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, on the ice killing a penalty, found themselves with a clear-cut two on nothing breakaway.
After four passes back and forth, Pleky finished off what had amounted to a perfect and unstoppable play.
1-1 after the first. 2-1 in the second when Lars Eller notched his first goal of the season. And in the third frame, after Eller hit the post, Dale Weise would dig the puck out to Max and the Rangers were sunk.
The Canadiens in general were solid, the Eller, Weise, Bourque combo made an impact, Price was amazing when he had to be, and Max made things count on the all-important first and third goals. But it’s a team game and plenty of guys punched the clock and made it work.
Makes my chest swell. Kind of makes it level with my stomach.
Such an impressive start to the season. Keep it rolling on the western swing to close out October and make this an absolute month to remember.