Habs beat Bruins in Boston. And they didn’t even need Tuukka Rask (5-15-3 lifetime vs Montreal) to help them. We’re still in October and will be for another four games but the start of the new season is looking a lot like the start of the old season.
- Carey Price. First NHL goalie to play the position while in a hammock.
- Brendan Gallagher. Quick, accurate release solved Anton Khudobin after the Bruins goalie made like he was sharp, mostly because he saw every puck fired in his direction.
- Alex Galchenyuk. Started the play that led to Gallagher’s opening goal. He’s picked up a point in each of the Habs five games. In fact, since Galchenyuk was finally moved to centre late last year he has averaged a point per game.
- Max Pacioretty. Perfect feed to Gallagher on the goal. The Habs are the highest scoring team in the NHL with their multiple 30 goal scorer sitting on one goal. A very good sign. He also delivered perhaps his best ever face wash with Joe Morrow on the receiving end during a scrum started by Gallagher (who else?) and Torrey Krug.
- Shea Weber. Ho hum.
- Paul Byron. Here’s one for the analytics crowd: Who’s the NHL leader in breakaways per minutes played? Byron (whom Chris Nilan says looks like a soldier from World War 1) scored the Habs first shorthanded goal of the year moments after Dominic Moore finally beat Price to narrow Montreal’s lead to 2-1.
Paul Byron’s goal gives him 12 SH points since the start of 2013-14- tied with Andrew Cogliano for the 4th most in the NHL during that span
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) October 23, 2016
- Torrey Mitchell. Back breaker for the Bruins when Mitchell jumped on a turnover (which he created with some good stick work) and beat Khudobin while falling to the ice after he was struck above the eye with a high stick. Through five games Mitchell has been hit in the face with a puck, taken a knee to the head and now a stick near the eye. Just in time for Halloween. More importantly his three goals are tied with Gallagher for the team lead.
- Phillip Danault. After struggling to control the puck inside the Boston zone earlier in the night he neatly finished off a two on one for his first goal of the season.
- Alexander Radulov. It was Radulov who carried the puck down the ice and into Boston territory before feeding it to Danault to make it 2-0 late in the second period just moments after Price had made another good save (on a deflection) look easy.
- Brian Flynn. The only Montreal forward still without a point but he played well back home in Boston. Just missed scoring early in the second when he deflected a Jeff Petry pass off the crossbar.
- Andrew Shaw. Just for knocking Zdeno Chara on his rear end.
- PK Unit. In addition to the shorty by Byron they (mostly Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Flynn, Mitchell, Weber and Tomas Plekanec) set the tone early when Brendan Gallagher took a four minute high sticking penalty barely two minutes into the game.
- A Chicago Cubs – Cleveland World Series. I’d like to live long enough to see the loser of this Fall Classic finally win again. And then to see the Expos return and do the same thing.
- Nathan Beaulieu. A very rough night. David Pasternak twice turned him inside out. He struggled with the puck. When he had open ice on the power play from the point he shot it right into Khudobin instead of waiting for a screen or making a higher percentage play. The second time Pasternak went around him should have resulted in a 3-3 tie but the right winger’s cross crease pass to Brad Marchand was flubbed by the NHL’s leading scorer. To top off his night Beaulieu had the puck on his stick at the Bruins blue line with time running out and an empty Boston net, but inexplicably tried to fire a shot and score through a couple of bodies instead of dumping it in deep. The mistake forced his defense partner into taking a penalty on a streaking Marchand and put Boston on the power play with over a minute to play. The 6 on 4 quickly turned into a 6 on 3 after Petry’s clearing attempt went over the glass for a delay of game penalty. Fortunately for the Habs their PK unit ended the night the way they started it. Nights like this make you (ok – me) wonder if Beaulieu is indeed ready to be a top pairing defenseman. But as long as they win they have more time to decide.
- Alexei Emelin. He was fine until he made a poor decision to pinch at the Boston blue line when the Habs were in total control of a 2-0 lead in the third period. Dominic Moore finished off a 2 on 1 to bring the Garden to life. On his next shift Emelin took a delay of game penalty. But that’s when Byron scored.
- Where or where is Mike Johnson?
- News that Jacques Demers was hospitalized
after suffering another strokejust four days after appearing at the Habs home opener. Hardly seems fair. (Fortunately, it turns out it was an infection that landed Jacques in the hospital again.)
- Power Play. It was terrible. Worse than going 0-5 it looked like the same putrid power play of the last three years. The game was closer than it should have been only because the Habs were so inefficient with the man advantage.
- Bruins home record against Montreal.
@HunterZThompson Montreal has won 9 straight in Boston and BOS/MON haven’t had a fighting major in a game together since November 2014.
— Kevin Vahey (@kvahey) October 23, 2016