The Montreal Canadiens have yet to win a game this season.
It was a 6-3 win for the visiting Dallas Stars on this, the first night of preseason, and we saw good things and bad from our bleu, blanc et rouge during the 60 minutes. But that’s what this is all about. Seeing what kind of cream rises to the top, finding chemistry amongst new teammates, shaking out cobwebs and nerves, and slowly molding into, hopefully, a bonafide contender.
By the time the last of the eight games are played before the real fun starts, we should see a Habs team ready, polished, and raring to go. Tonight was just step one in a long line of steps.
Carey Price allowed four goals and and that’s fine. We’re chillin’. His replacement midway through, Nathan Lawson, missed the last two but looked fine coming into a tough situation. Lawson basically put a bandaid on the bleeding as the Habs, at the time he arrived on the scene, were showing spurts of fire and control, and Lawson held the fort as the boys closed the gap to one.
But before the game finally ended in a a 6-3 win for the Texans, we saw some nice things from our Habs hopefuls. Raphael Diaz is showing he’s a keeper, at least after one game and apparently much of training camp. He plays with poise, creates chances, and at this point looks as if he belongs. He knows it, and he knows if he keeps the pedal to the medal, he’ll be with the club on October 6th.
It took awhile before Alexei Yemelin cranked it up a notch, and when he finally got his bearings, he too showed poise, along with banging and crashing that is such a welcomed sight. Even though I think Diaz showed more on this night, I’m also very much rooting for Yemelin because his blend of toughness and skill is an ingredient Montreal has lacked somewhat in these last few years. I have high hopes for both of them.
Veteran Erik Cole absolutely belonged. He netted a goal scorer’s goal when he snapped one home for the Habs first marker, and he’s a welcomed addition. A big, goal-scoring power forward. He, along with our other power guy, Max Pacioretty, spells double trouble in my book.
Good old Andrei Kostitsyn played well, young Ian Schultz handled himself just fine in a punch-up with 6’4″ Francis Wathier, and all in all, the night, even in defeat, wasn’t a disaster. The sky will only fall if we lose all eight games in this preseason and then the first one in Toronto.
But just wait. Wait until the real team slowly takes shape. When preseason is finished and real dance is about to begin, we’re going to see a nice-looking group of Montreal Canadiens. Right now there’s some rough edges to sort out.
Wednesday night when the Buffalo Sabres arrive on the scene.
Montreal iced just six regulars from last year – Price, Gill, Weber, Plekanec, Cammalleri and Plekanec, and Erik Cole from Carolina. Rounding out the team were 12 guys all searching for the promised land – Engqvist, Tinordi, Trotter, Willsie, Palushaj, Berger, Masse, Blunden, and the aforementioned Yemelin and Diaz.
It’s going to be very interesting to see who rises above.