GAME #2 Speed Wins Out Again – Canadiens-5 Pittsburgh-1 (Oct. 6/2018)

Oct 7th, 2018 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

Paul Byron‘s two goals and an assist propelled the Canadiens to a 5-1 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh Saturday night.

The Canadiens finish their opening road trip of the season with three of a possible four points.

Each of the Canadiens lines contributed at least a goal. Gallagher, Armia and Hudon also scored. The Canadiens outshot Pittsburgh 29-22.


The Canadiens have always been noted for their speed. This version of the team has made teams that have their own speed look slow.

Team speed accounted for four of the five goals, two of them by the original speedster Paul Byron. But the early success is not only based on speed but quickness. Pittsburgh could find no solution for the way the Canadiens’ puck movement from their own end and through the neutral zone. Once again the most improved player in that department is Mike Reilly who has found a way to channel his speed under the new coaching system.


How often in recent years have we seen the Canadiens try to sit on a comfortable lead and find themselves in a struggle at game’s end. Pittsburgh came from behind to win in all three meetings last season. With a 4-1 lead after two periods, this version of the team wasn’t about to go into prevent mode. They closed it out by outshooting the Penguins 14-3 in the third period.


We’re all surprised at how quickly Jesperi Kotkaniemi has picked things up in his first month on this side of the Atlantic.

He had another good night that included two excellent chances to record his first NHL goal.

One thing missing in his game was faceoffs (he won 1 of 7 vs. Toronto). So after regular practice in Pittsburgh Friday

Tomas Plekanec, Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw held a special faceoff schooling session with him. Result – Kotkiemi won 6 of 9 faceoffs against the Penguins.


We’ve gone through two whole seasons of trying to place the square peg (Galchenyuk & Drouin) in the round centre ice hole.   So one could be forgiven for treating the Max Domi conversion to centre with skepticism.

This one seems to be working.  Domi’s all out speed and effort behind the net including a diving poke pass set up Byron’s second goal. In two games he has shown more playmaking ability at centre than the two years of Galchenyuk and Drouin combined.

If you haven’t noticed, all three of his points to date are primary assists.


Conventional wisdom said, considering the radical off-season changes, Carey Price was going to have to stand on his head if the Canadiens were going win any games at all. Carey gave up just one goal in the game and had to deal with a couple of tense moments in the game and a couple of goalposts.  His biggest moment came with five seconds remaining in the second period when he stopped Bryan Rust on a breakaway with the score 4-1.  But all things considered it wasn’t a really difficult night for him.   Price stopped only three shots in the third period.   Notable stat:  Price made 21 saves in the game. His defence blocked 22 shots


There are two key stats often quoted by the advanced statistics crowd;  Corsi and Fenwick numbers.

They told vastly different stories in this game. The Corsi possession numbers had the Penguins leading the 54.32% to 45.68. The Fenwicks told a completely different story with the Canadiens controlling the offence 54.39% to 45.61. The difference is blocked shots. Fenwicks take the blocked shots out of the equation because they consider blocking a shot a skill not a random event. In this game the Canadiens blocked 22 shots; the Penguins blocked only 7. Thereby hangs the difference.  Only four of the Canadiens eighteen skaters failed to block a shot.


It’s hard after a team effort like this one to dwell on the negative but what about Jonathan Drouin?  For the second straight game he was a non-factor or more bluntly put, he was a negative factor. In his first shift he made a sloppy pass across his own blue line that was picked off and could have led to an early game-changing disaster. It wasn’t the only time in the game where his play was lackadaisical.

And he has to get over his days in Halifax where he could stick handle through an entire team and score. It just doesn’t happen in today’s NHL. Drouin was one of only two Canadiens forwards who didn’t register a shot on goal.


O’Reilly led the Canadiens in ice time at 22:27. Tomas Tatar led with five shots on goal. Noah Juulsen had five hits. Benn, O’Reilly and Byron recorded three blocked shots each.


The Canadiens chartered home after the game. They’ll wait five days until their home opener next Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. The Penguins will get another shot at the Canadiens next Saturday at the Bell Centre.

2 Comments to “GAME #2 Speed Wins Out Again – Canadiens-5 Pittsburgh-1 (Oct. 6/2018)”

  1. Ned Stark, Warden of the North says:

    A couple of things here. No doubt I am quite pleased with the level of play and execution by the HABS in their first 2 games. Prior to Game 1 Claude Juliem, HABS Head Coach announced that he would be icing the best 20 players in the starting lineup and namely Pleks and Alzner would be press box bound. That’s a great thing for him to do and a) puts the team on notice that hard work is being recognized by the coaching staff and players will be rewarded accordingly and b) Bergy said this team had to have a better attitude to win this year.
    After 2 games it’s almost certain that the following player has been the worst Hab on the ice in both games has been none other than: the local French Phenom who was acquired last year for our #1 defensive prospect – Sergatchev. Yup I’m referring to the guy brought in to be our #1 Centre even though he was a winger but Bergy nope he’s a #1 centre. Well last season proved without a doubt he was not even a 6th line centre. So this season he has been put back on the wing where he is supposed to be much better. Well not so fast!! Yah he’s grown his hair longer to look oh so cool but that’s about it. Being back on the wing he’s playing/acting like he’s back in junior where he’s a: hero, cherry picker, never coming inside our blueline unless it’s the pre game warm up etc, also he thinks only he can bring the puck up ice by himself and go through every member of the other team. Because he is skating so fast(supposedly) he has no time to look for open teammates and pass the puck to them. Nope! He has to do it himself because he’s the local French Superstar and the guy who should have been named Captain. Ok, let’s get serious now –> Drouin is playing like a jerk and Julien needs to act on it before his lack of play disrupts the team. Currently showing he’s not too interested in putting any effort. His puck handling is terrible. Oh sure he looks good starting out on one of his ill fated rushes. But once he runs into the other team all stacked up in front of him he ends up giving away the puck. Either he just hands it over meekly or he just dumps it and doesn’t pursue it. In our end he’s such a waste. He has no interest in helping out inside our blueline. Tonite in Pittsburgh the puck was in our zone as he strolled back in slowly and just coasted. The puck went to the left point and the Defensemen started walking in with the puck gliding slowly towards the net while he had his stick back just waiting to let it go. Meanwhile Drouin is still coasting and he can see the Piit player 10-15ft away from him. Does he put on his famous jet skates and hustle over to try and steal the puck? Dam no!! Does he slide in front and try and block the coming shot? Dan no!! Well what did he do? Just kept gliding/coasting and didn’t make any effort at all. I was just livid!! I’m sorry but the players aren’t going to put up with this bull shit!! Julien needs to stand up and grab Drouin by the scruff of the neck and let him know he’s benched starting Thursday! If however Bergy won’t let him then he needs to put him on the 4th line and put Hudon in his spot. You as a coach can’t say Pleks and Alznef aren’t better than anybody in the lineup and will continue to be scratches while that💩Drouin gets to continue to play on the 2nd line. If Julien doesn’t act quickly, decisively then this is going to harm the team going forward. Other players will stop busting their butts and opportunities will slip away and goals won’t get scored for us but they will get scored by the bushel basket against us. The Team has made both opponents take notice that this isn’t some patsy team out for a skate. We’re going to skate circles around you all night and skate you right out of the rink. Honestly, I was against the acquisition of Drouin from the start. If I was Bergy I’d be on the phone looking to move him for a very capable Top 4 defensemen. But Bergy’s ego would never let that happen because once again it would show how bad he is about making trades. Sergatchev is going to continue to blossom for TB and he is just reinforcing what a bust Drouin is going to be for us. You looked how Paul Byron hustled all night! He deserved those 2 goals by effort alone and rewarded by a great back hand pass to Armia for a short handed goal. Drouin I bet doesn’t even shower after games because he never breaks a sweat. Every other guy in the lineup is busting his balls out there and Drouin is pissing around out there. I’m guessing his nose is out of joint because new Hab Tatar I’d on the Top line plus Drouin wasn’t named Captain or given an A so why bust a gut.
    We have two tough games this week with LA and then a return match with the Pens who will be out for our blood after we beat them at their home 5-1. I’m sure they skated into tonite’s game thinking they had an easy 2 points in the bank. We’ll get a few more weeks of catching some teams by surprise If we keep skating like we are. But we won’t keep that going with the way Drouin is playing. If he continues along like this he won’t have any production and the sulking will only get worse.

    CLAUDE JULLIEN –> it’s time to take action this week before the next game. You need to put the fear in that French Floater and sit him out for the next 2 games to see if it gets his attention. I’m betting it won’t as he has 5 more years with that big overpaid contract of his. Sit his ass down now!!

  2. Philip Turnbull says:

    well Drouin is proving he is not the ‘NEXT GREAT FRENCH CANADIAN SKATER’ that Bergevin promised when he traded a future Norris dman for…he proved he was not a center and anw he is proving he is not a winger…but an egotisical boy….

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