BREATHTAKING – Canadiens-8 Ottawa-3 (Oct. 30, 2017)

Oct 31st, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

Can everybody take a deep breath now?

Probably not, but at least everyone in Montreal will get a good night’s rest after the Canadiens 8-3 win over the Senators in Ottawa.

We’ve been saying since training camp that the Canadiens aren’t as bad as they’ve looked. There are obvious flaws in this team that will continue to be irritants as the season moves along, but there was no way that a team that leads the league in shots on goal is going to continue to produce the fewest goals.  Thirteen goals in two games may be too small a sample to declare that all is finally well with the Canadiens but it’s a start.

THE COACHING EFFECT

There are times when a major trade gets a team back on the right track.   More often however it’s a coaching adjustment. Putting Max Pacioretty on the first line with Jonathan Drouin in training camp seemed to be a no-brainer.   Except it didn’t work.   Claude Julien finally sacked the place at the end of the first period in Anaheim.  He put him back with the Phillip Danault who had helped him 35 goals last season.  In the four games since, Pacioretty, Danault and Andrew Shaw have combined for 5 goals and 7 assists. Through their first seven games with other linemates they had a total of 1 goal, 2 assists.

DOMINO EFFECT

It’s catching.   The rest of the offense seems to have caught the wave.  Against the Senators Artturi Lehkonen, who had been the steadiest member of the forward group since day-one, finally broke through with his first two goals of the season.

Snakebit Charles Hudon, who was second to Pacioretty on shots-on-goal this season, got the first two goals of his NHL career. Brendan Gallagher had been equally relentless but unproductive since the season opener had a great night. And their center Tomas Plekanec had his only his second two-point night since last January 24th.  All good signs.

FOURTH LINE

We all know what Torrey Mitchell brings to a game, but his linemates Mike McCarron and Alex Galchenyuk have been an ongoing project.   But there’s progress to report.

Galchenyuk, who has been shouldering a truckload of rumours along with his on-ice issues, seems to be slowly bringing his game around. He scored his first even strength goal of the season and is now tied for the team scoring lead with four. One more game like this and Julien will have to start considering increasing his icetime from the current ten minutes.

McCarron, only got just under seven minutes ice time but he made them productive by doing the things he has to do to stay in the NHL, which means using his big body to advantage. He led Canadiens forwards with four hits and had an excellent scoring chance.

THE BACKUP

First we heard, the reason they started Al Montoya was Carey Price had just been in four games in six nights. Later, we were told the coaches wanted Price to spend quality practice time with goaltender coach Stephane Waite working on the things that have wrecked the first month of his season. Whatever the reason, Montoya shrugged off a shaky start , gained confidence as the game progressed and gave the Canadiens a solid start. We’ll probably see Montoya again in Winnipeg on Saturday and Price will get a few off days to work on his game.

THE BLUELINE

As good as the Canadiens were in the Ottawa zone, they were equally bad in their own. Claude Julien-coached teams are traditionally strong in their own end.  That leads one to believe it’s not the system but the talent level. of his defense group.  That can take two forms – a lack of ability or a lack of compatibility. My sense is, it’s the latter.

The Senators clearly studied the tapes and knew going into the game that the Canadiens defense can be susceptible to the hard forecheck, especially on the back boards. Lost puck battles kept this game close until Galchenyuk and Gallagher scored those two quick goals late in the second period. Since the start of the season the talk has been the need for a top centreman.  With the offense starting to heat up, Marc Bergevin  might be shifting his attention to landing a puck-moving defenseman.

MOVING ON

Coming up, the third time this season the Canadiens will play three road games in four nights. Of the six games so far under those conditions, the Canadiens have only that overtime win in Buffalo to show. This time it will be  Minnesota Thursday and then back-to-back in Winnipeg and Chicago Saturday and Sunday.

If the Canadiens can get through this with relative success, fans might legitimately breathe easier.

One Comment to “BREATHTAKING – Canadiens-8 Ottawa-3 (Oct. 30, 2017)”

  1. Bay_Bye says:

    GREAT GAME..EXCELLENT TO SEE THE OFFENSE CATCH FIRE…but there is still alot to do with the defense..it will be our adams apple…I am still not sold on Benn and Azner together…both have to bring their game to the next level…hopefully they can figure it out…but nice to see Hudon crack the goal scoreboard..and Danault is on fire…Gally and Chucky seem to found their stride…big road trip coming up..hope they can keep the momentum going

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