It’s Deja Vu all over agin.
But will 2017 be thud free?
- Carey Price. For the first time this season the Habs needed Price to win them a game. With Tampa Bay rested after scoring seven goals in Toronto and waiting for the Habs to arrive back from Brooklyn it was clear that number 31 was going to be busy. He wasn’t bombarded but he stopped everything but an unstoppable tip in. Trailing 1-0 with Tampa Bay on a power play to start the third period Price could not afford to give up a second goal. 20 seconds in, following his own bad giveaway behind the net, Price somehow managed to get back in time to stop Ondrej Palat who was left alone for what appeared to be an easy finish. Game saver.
- Shea Weber. Virtually mistake free. On the ice for the first 5 on 5 goal against since game two in Ottawa. Weber had his man properly tied up. It was fun to watch the cat and mouse game between Michel Therrien (J.J. Daigneault) and Jon Cooper in the first Montreal-TB match up featuring Steven Stamkos and Weber. Took a little time to develop but eventually Weber cast his significant shadow on the Lightning sniper.
- Max Pacioretty. Both his goals this season are game winners. Continues to get his nose dirty in scrums. Grabbed 6’6″ Brian Boyle to make sure the Tampa Bay forward didn’t get involved in the one sided scrap. Has rediscovered the art of the face wash. This is not insignificant. Nobody likes the possibility of a finger in the eye. Didn’t like his passive approach to a loose puck along the boards just prior to Alex Killorn’s opening goal.
- Andrew Shaw. Perfect screen on the Pacioretty goal which he helped set up with a strong shot on Ben Bishop. Getting a lot more chances with Pacioretty on his left. Best game as a Hab.
- Alex Galchenyuk. That’s the guy we saw down the stretch a season ago. And about those face offs (2 for 8 under 30% for the season)? In his first season as an NHL centre Sidney Crosby won less than 46% of his draws. In year two he was still under 50%. He went over that mark in year three. But didn’t become one of the best (56%) until year five.
- Andrei Markov. Perfect, vintage set up to Galchenyuk made up for what had been a weird night for Markov who missed two open teammates on a previous power play, missed a great set up from Brian Flynn on a two on one after he jumped out of the penalty box and slapped a puck over the glass in Tampa Bay territory from his own end while killing a penalty to put Montreal down briefly by two men.
- Special Teams. Galchenyuk’s power play goal made it three straight games (two game winners and a game tying goal) for the work-in-progress power play which has now moved above 20%. Habs PK unit is over 90%.
- Greg Pateryn. That set up to Pacioretty for the game winner was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment. Keep having to remind myself that he hasn’t played a full NHL season (64 career games).
Pacioretty go-ahead goal pic.twitter.com/1LT1OvAxuY
— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 28, 2016
- Nathan Beaulieu. Maybe he’s at his best at or around 15:00 (13:55). This season anyway.
- Torrey Mitchell. Tony Marinaro used the word tenacity to describe Mitchell’s effort on his clinching empty netter. Good word. Tied for the team lead in goals.
- Brendan Gallagher. Even when he’s not hitting the scoresheet he’s putting his team in position to win. For the second straight game it was Gallagher who drew a penalty (Nikita Nesterov roughing in front of the net – where else?) that led to a game changing power play goal.
- This –
@HunterZThompson Back-to-back victories for Habs with Chris Lee reffing. A first?
— Alex Nesrallah (@zimnes) October 28, 2016
- Michel Therrien. True to form-and much to the dismay of many-he did indeed start the game with the trio he put together in the second period in Brooklyn – Pacioretty and Shaw centred by David Desharnais. But more significantly, he finally put Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov together. He had to have been thinking about it for awhile. Then, early in the second via a line change, Galcheyuk and Radulov broke free on a give and go but Galchenyuk was stymied by Bishop. This after yet another great set up by Radulov to his regular centreman who couldn’t finish. Once the Galchenyuk-Gallagher-Radulov combo were on the ice for the power play goal six minutes into the third period, it was a matter of time before Therrien put them together five on five. And there they were on their next shift. If they stay together there’s no way Therrien can use Desharnais (15:56) for nearly two minutes more than Galchenyuk (14:03). Is there?
— Hugo Sham (@HugoSham) October 28, 2016
- Tomas Plekanec. Suddenly a #3 centre. If it’s worth anything he looked better. But again couldn’t finish anything off. If you go back to the final two months of the 2015-16 season, Plekanec has scored two goals in his last 27 games.
- Official NHL stat person who credited Paul Byron with 7 hits.
- Ben Bishop. Another game against Montreal, another obvious case of embellishment in his crease. Even with Brandon Prust two years removed. It’ll be fun to watch the Bishop-Shaw dynamic develop.
- Cedric Paquette should not drop his gloves. Ever. Especially against Nathan Beaulieu. Remember last February when Beaulieu punched Paquette’s visor off? This time Beaulieu nearly punched his head off.