The Canadiens scored three goals on their first four shots of the second period, including two separated by 28 seconds, and coasted to a 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre. Rene Bourque and David Desharnais led the Canadiens with two goals each. Lars Eller had a goal and two assists. Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Habs. Alex Galchenyuk chipped in with two assists. Tomas Vanek spoiled Carey Price’s shutout bid with a shorthanded goal early in the third period. the Canadiens set the game’s tone in the first period when they outshot the Sabres 15-1, although they had only one goal to show for it. Rene Bourque scored with eight seconds left in the period. Final shots on goal were 32-31 for the Canadiens. The three stars were Galchenyuk, Bourque and Price.
Random Thinking –
In Good Health ….. There was little question Bourque came to the Canadiens with an injury last season that took away the strengths of his game which is aggressively driving to the net and finding the scoring areas. With a summer to heal, his game is back. Not only did he score twice, his aggressiveness drew two penalties. He eight shots, five of them on goal.
Past Due…..David Desharnais came into the game with a season total of three shots on goal. Against the Sabres four of his eight attempts were on goal and he was rewarded with his first two goals of the season.
All is Forgiven …..The fans were in their “P.K. – P.K. – P.K” chant by the midpoint of the game. Subban, in his season debut, and with only one practice behind him, logged 18:01 ice time and showed little sign of rust accumulation. He assisted on the Canadiens sixth goal only seconds after he hit the post.
The Power Play Lives – Two more with the man advantage and Andrei Markov didn’t have a role in either of them. The first and last goals of the game. Bourque from Gionta and Plekanec late in the first. Desharnais from Eller and Subban midway through the third. With eleven, the Canadiens are one behind San Jose and Tampa Bay, the league leaders in total power play goals.
In the Nets – The winning goaltender is generally not up for three star consideration in a 6-1 game especially when he had to deal with only one shot in the first period but Carey Price had a good day. With the score 2-0 early in the second period he made important saves o Ehrhoff, Foligno and Stafford while Alexei Emelin was off on a tripping penalty. It set the stage for the goals by Desharnais and Eller 28 seconds apart.
Keeping Busy – In the final 17:59 of the third period after he lost the shutout on the Tomas Vanek goal Price had to stop 16 Buffalo shots. Through the final two periods Buffalo outshot the Canadiens 31-17.
Chucky – Another two assists for Galchenyuk and he just missed on a couple of goalscoring chances. That’s seven points in his first NHL games and, what stands out for a rookie, he’s plus-5. Every game, another revelation. Galchenyuk in the faceoff circle. Therrien had him take draws everywhere on the ice and against all of the Sabres centremen. He won 9 of 11 for 83%. He won 4 of 5 in the offensive ; 3 of 4 in the defensive and 2 of 2 in the neutral zone.
Turnaround – After seven games last season the Canadiens were 1-4-2. This year 5-2-0. The Canadiens beat the Sabres at the Bell Centre for the first time in six games. Last year after seven games the power play was operating at 6.9%, 29th in the league. This year, with two against the Sabres, the power play ranks 6th at 26.8%.
Next Up – The Ottawa Senators – Super Bowl Sunday at the Bell Centre. Gametime 2:05pm.