THOUGHTS ON AN OPENING NIGHT FLOP

HISTORY REPEATS – Last year the Canadiens were were beaten 3-1 in the opener, a game in which they were outshot 21-12 over the final two
periods.

IN HINDSIGHT – Were the Canadiens that good in the first period when they outshot the Leafs14-4 or was Toronto that bad.  The answer considering the second and third period is the latter.  The Leafs made the Canadiens look disorganized and toothlesthe game’s final two thirds.

SHOULD WE HAVE EXPECTED MORE – The Canadiens looked disorganized and rudderless, very much like a team that still had over 50 players in training camp as they went into their sixth of eight exhibition games.

WHITHER ERIK COLE – There was a certain amount of grumbling when Erik Cole was taken away from the Tomas Plekanec line in favour of
Andrei Kostitsyn.  Cole had zero shots on goal, while his linemates Desharnais and Mathieu Darche had one each.

RISK-REWARD –  You take the good and the bad with P.K. Subban.  Tonight we got the bad side.  The winning goal came with the Canadiens on the power play in the first minute of the second period Subban gambled and went to the corner after the puck putting four Canadiens behind the
Toronto net only Plekanec at the blueline.  Mike Brown and Mathew Lombardi broke out Lombardii scoring the
shorthanded goal.  Subban dove and took himself out of position on the 3 on 2 that led to the second goal.

THE KID –  At the age of 25 maybe we shouldn’t call him a kid, but Rafael Diaz, playing with Jaroslav Spacek,  logged 16:42 in his NHL debut, including 3;04 on the power play and another 45 seconds on the penalty kill.  He certainly wasn’t the Canadiens worst defenseman.

OH, NO!!! – Just past the midway point of the second period, which trying to keep up with a breaking Mikhail Grabovski, defenseman Chris Campoli took an awkward step and appeared to wrench his left leg or groin.  He did not return to the game and Yannick Weber moved back from right wing to replace him.

GOOD WITH THE BAD –

PLEKANEC –  The Canadiens best forward.   I can’t imagine that Tomas Plekanec on the point on the power play is going to last very long.  He’s more creative when he’s up front during those minutes.  Plekanec was terrific again on the penalty kill, especially during that 5-on-3 late in the second
period where he was on the ice for the final 2.14 of the period.  Jacques Martin called a time out to rest him so he could remain on the ice for the final 18 seconds of the period.  Incidentally, Plekanec, Cammalleri and Kostitsyn each registered four shots on goal in the game.

THE GOMEZ LINE –  Gomez, Gionta and Pacioretty logged 13:27 as a unit, almost twice as much as Plekanec, Kostitsyn and Cammalleri.  As a line they had eight shots on goal with Pacioretty taking four and Gomez three.  The fact that Gomez continues to shoot the puck is a good sign.

CAREY’S NIGHT – Not his fault.  Despite the lopsided shots on goal in favour of the Canadiens, Toronto appeared to have
the better scoring chances in the second third period.  Price made the initial save on the play that led to the first goal.  On the second
one, he seemed a bit back in the net, perhaps anticipating a close in play on  what was a 3-on-2 break.

CANADIENS FANS CAN ONLY HOPE – Last season the team was beaten badly in the Toronto opener and came back to record seven wins, a loss and an overtime loss in their next nine games.     Next stop   – Winnipeg Sunday at 5.00 Eastern Time.