Led by Dale Weise’s first career hattrick, the Canadiens ended a two game winning streak with a 6-2 win over the Flames on Saturday night. Weise’s second goal broke a 2-2 tie in the second period and proved to be the game winner. Newcomer Paul Byron scored a shorthanded goal and an assist against his former teammates. The other goals were scored by Nathan Beaulieu and Devante Smith-Pelly. Mike Condon stopped 30 of 32 shots and remains unbeaten as an NHL goaltender in three starts. The three stars were Weise, Condon and Byron.
Adding It Up –
Inspired – When you’ve having a big night the puck seems to chase you all night long and that was what happened to Dale Weise. The puck was around him all night. He scored the game’s first goal on a long, but seemingly slapshot. In the second period he picked a pocket to score unassisted and the hattrick goal he was right there for a pass from Tomas Fleischmann. Those were three of his seven shots on goal. But, big offensive night or not, he was still in the face of the Flames defensively the entire night. His statistical line included three hits, one takeaway and two blocked shots (the second one late in the third period hurt). The night of his life and no doubt about it.
Unsung – Watching the way Tomas Fleischmann’s game had deteriorated over the last couple of years was left scratching one’s head. Eight goals and less than 30 points in each of his last two years. As it turns out, it might have been the company he was keeping. Clearly he likes the people he’s with now. Fleischmann’s setup on the first and third Weise goals were perfect in execution and timing. The Desharnais line had seven scoring points on the night.
Familiar Story – Once again the goaltender kept the Canadiens in this one but it wasn’t Carey Price. The Canadiens, playing their third game in four nights, came out flat and Mike Condon bailed them out. At one point in the first period, scoring chances were 6-2 for the Flames. At the end of the second period they were 10-5. Condon is now 3-0 to start his career and has stopped 84 of 89 shots for a save percentage of .944.
Homecoming – Paul Byron has incredible speed. It’s why Marc Bergevin snapped him up off the waiver wire. His speed earned him breakaway after breakaway last season and he scored on none of them. (There is a Youtube video showing him being stopped ten times on breakaways last season). There was no mistake on his first breakaway for the Canadiens. His shorthanded goal broke the Flames back in the third period.
Major Contributors – It’s been decades since a Canadiens fourth line has done what Torrey Mitchell and company have done to start this season. And Michel Therrien has recognized their contribution by giving them as much ice time as his more prominent lines – over 14 minutes in this game. Byron 1 goal, 1 assist. Smith-Pelly – first goal of the season. Mitchell– 2 assists. A combined plus-6.
Also Worth Mentioning – …..Got to do something about what was designated at the start of the season as the Canadiens second line. Galchenyuk/Eller and now Flynn is something of an offensive black hole. Galchenyuk had two shots on goal and a crossbar; the others were invisible. Making Alexander Semin a healthy scratch was rightfully controversial. But the problems don’t begin and end there. Lars Eller seems mis-employed as well. ….A clear sign that things aren’t right may be in the fact that the fourth line logged more time in this game than the so-called second line.…..Off the scoresheet….Weise, Fleischmann and Tom Gilbert were all plus-3 in the game. Desharnais won 9 of 14 faceoffs (64%). Jeff Petry blocked 3 more shots and his partner Alexei Emelin logged three more hits. And the Canadiens are now 10-2-0 to start their season.
Up Next – Home again to start a four game stand against Winnipeg Sunday night at the Bell Centre. That’s followed by Ottawa Tuesday, the Islanders Thursday and Boston on Saturday.