Glass half full – The Habs opened up the season with two games on the road without their best player and took three out four points.
Glass half empty – Playing against two fellow non-playoff teams from 2015-16 the Habs were outshot 69-48. And for a team whose identity is “speed”, they mostly looked like the slower team on the ice in both games.
The defending Stanley Cup champs are next.
- Jeff Petry. Welcome back. Hard, accurate shot from the point with traffic in front is a strong remedy for a sick power play. On the other hand, Petry badly over committed to puck carrier Ryan Dzingel which left Tom Pyatt(!) alone to bury the game tying goal with just two and a half minutes to play.
- Al Montoya. Put his team in position to climb out of an 0-2 hole. Several great saves from in close.
- Alexander Radulov. A beast. Moved up in the second half of the game to play on the top line. Nifty backhand goal in the shootout.
- Arturi Lehkonen. First NHL goal early in the third period tied the game. Lehkonen had very little room from in tight but managed to roll it over Craig Anderson. His reward? No ice time for the next seven minutes.
- Nathan Beaulieu. A mostly strong 22 minutes. Nice set up to Petry for the go ahead goal in the third. But how is Beaulieu going to hit the back of the net with what increasingly appears to be a sub-par NHL shot?
- Shea Weber. One of the few Habs who could respond to Ottawa’s early physicality. While dishing it out there’s no question that he also gives himself extra time with the puck as opposing forwards seem a lot more reluctant to finish their checks. Robbed of his first goal as a Hab when Anderson made a strong shoulder save on a blast from above the left face off circle during a very dangerous looking second Montreal power play.
- Special Teams. As predicted following game one, the Habs scored their first power play goal of the season. More importantly it looked a lot better after a dreadful first attempt early in the game which led directly to Dzingel’s opening goal just nine seconds following the expiration of a Marc Methor penalty. And the PK Unit was severely tested by 1:37 of an Ottawa 4 on 3 in the second period and nearly a full two minute (1:49) 5 on 3 early in the third. Full credit to the Montreal penalty killers led by Andrei Markov, but it looks like Guy Boucher has a similar problem to Michel Therrien – how to get a power play featuring some very talented players and anchored by the best offensive defenseman in the game – to become a true weapon.
- David Desharnais-Andrew Shaw-Daniel Carr. Couldn’t follow up a strong opening night in Buffalo. Didn’t generate a single shot on goal.
- Alex Galchenyuk. Mostly chasing the puck all night after winning just 2 of 15 face offs (13%). Needs to put in extra time at practice, if he’s not already doing so. Number one centres need to give their team possession of the puck. Through the first two games Galchenyuk is under 27%.
- Max Pacioretty. Just three shots on goal through two games. Terrible holding penalty on Karlsson early in the third which put the Habs down by two men.
- Paul Byron. Anybody else wondering why he ended up taking several shifts with Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher in the second half of the game? It couldn’t be because of all the family and friends he had at the game.
- Michel Therrien. Up to his old tricks – don’t trust the kids. Arturi Lehkonen looks good. If Therrien trusts him to kill penalties why is he reluctant to put him on the ice while nursing a one goal lead on the road? Over the final half of the third period Lehkonen got two shifts, including his final one of 23 seconds. And the speedy winger didn’t make it onto the ice in overtime. Once again, it’s more about “safe” hockey than winning hockey. And while we’re at it – Shea Weber brings a lot to this team. But he is not an ideal 3 on 3 guy. In fact, right now it appears that only Petry and Beaulieu have the skating ability on the back end to play three on three. What was that about “speed”?
- Which was uglier-this?
— Reddit Sports (@redditsportsbot) October 16, 2016
Or this –
Desharnais is an idiot. Therrien is an even bigger idiot for putting him into the shootout #TSN690
— tobi (@djtobimontreal) October 16, 2016
Who the fuck put Desharnais in the shootout
— Lauren Anderson (@laur_anderson61) October 16, 2016
Desharnais in the shootout and he fans on it to lose? Fuck off. #Habs
— Stephen Dean (@PreacherTW) October 16, 2016
Desharnais on top because of people ripping him. https://t.co/V9vrL1c43n
— Dan Spector (@danspector) October 16, 2016