GAME #5 – Plekanec’s Night – Canadiens-7 Detroit-3 (Oct. 15. 2018)

Oct 16th, 2018 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

Save your pity.

You take the two points wherever you can get them, so any feeling of pity for the current plight of the Detroit Red Wings defence is beside the point.

The Canadiens took full advantage of the fact that the Wings were missing four veterans on their defence to ring up a 6-1 lead before winning 7-3.

Few outside of Montreal were feeling sorry for the Canadiens last season when they were facing up to their injury problems so feeling sorry for a  Detroit team that isn’t going to be a contender at the best of times this season, is a waste of time.

PLEKANEC

What a night!

One thousand games.

Pro athletes will tell you it’s only a number to consider after a career is over.

Tomas Plekanec didn’t play like it was “only a number”. He scored a goal. If he still had a shot he might have scored another one.

Those 50-point seasons may be long-gone, but all of the other things that made him so valuable to the Canadiens overe 12 seasons are still there. He takes key face offs. His defensive game is nearly impeccable. And we all know about his quiet leadership. He earned the standing ovation he got in the first period.

Fans will get another chance to pay their respects when he is awarded the NHL Silver Stick Milestone Award prior to Wednesday’s game.

TATAR

Tomas Tatar was traded twice this year.

Detroit at least got return in the form of a first, second and third round choice. There are rumours Vegas wouldn’t make the Pacioretty deal unless the Canadiens accepted Tatar’s contract as part of the deal. True or not, Tatar has become something of a revelation. From the start of training camp he established a home with Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher.

There were rumours that there would be nights when his play could be somewhat indifferent. None of that so far. Three points against his old team including that brilliant quick pass to Brendan Gallagher for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

EMERGING

That’s two games in a row for the long-awaited arrival of Jonathan Drouin. Again he was relaxed and confident. His newfound coolness under fire was demonstrated when he pulled the puck out of a power play goalmouth scramble, waited and then put the puck over the pileup into the open top of the net.
Same unhesitating approach he used on that penalty shot.

Canadian fans can only hope this emerging version of Drouin continues.

SIGNIFICANT BACKUP

The only reason Antti Niemi is a member of the Canadiens was the result of a dire injury situation last season in which Carey Price and then Al Montoya’s concussion left only Charlie Lindgren to hold the fort. Niemi is another one of those Marc Bergevin waiver claims that has turned out to have significant impact.

Niemi had to go to work in the third period when the Canadiens took their foot off the gas and allowed themselves to be outshot 12-4. I think we can assume by the fact that he started the second straight game that Claude Julien will lighten Carey Price‘s load by using Niemi more this season than the second half of back-to-back games.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….Few of us paid any attention when Bergevin signed free agent Matthew Peca and then declared that the former Tampa farmhand would be part of the Canadiens opening night roster. Two primary assists. I really liked him better as a winger with Tomas Plekanec on the fourth line than what I earlier saw as the fourth line centre.

….All four of the Canadiens lines reached the scoresheet when Paul Byron scored late in the third period. Fourteen of the Canadiens eighteen skaters recorded at least a point. Among the twelve forwards, only Artturi Lehkonen failed to get a point and he had four shots on goal.

…..They’re not the Toronto Maple Leafs, but who would have predicted the Canadiens would post 18 goals through the first five games of the season. They”re already plus-five in goal differential.

….Mike Reilly logged over 22 minutes in the game. He’s turning into the Canadiens best early-season defenceman. Once again Julien used him in every game-situation.

….Nine seconds into the game Noah Juulsen stepped up and leveled veteran Darren Helm with a hard open ice body check. He didn’t quit from there. Another solid night for the former first round draft pick. And he wound up plus-3. His defence partner Victor Mete wasn’t as good.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens take their 3-1-1 record to the ice against the St Louis Blues (1-2-2) on Wednesday night. Then it’s off to Ottawa Saturday. The Senators are as much of an Atlantic Division surprise as the Habs , coming off their 4-1 win over Dallas Monday night.

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