For the longest time it appeared the Habs and Flyers were taking their cue from the NFL prime time match up the night before. Except for when Montreal’s #47 hit the ice. Don’t look now but this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
- Alexander Radulov. Easily the best player on the ice. Huge factor in all three Montreal goals. With five points in six games Radulov has already more than made up for last years’ signing of Alex Semin (one goal, four points in 15 games before the plug was mercifully pulled). Quickly becoming one of the best and most unique looking forwards in the NHL. It’s enough to give even the most hardened old Habs fan the tickles.
#Habs Radulov on crowd chanting his name: “I don’t know how you say, I got the tickles? (Goosebumps) Yes, goosebumps.”
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) October 25, 2016
- Carey Price. Beaten only on a deflection by the back-in-2014-15-form Jacob Voracek. Preserved the win moments before Radulov’s clinching empty netter by his strong positioning which enabled him to stop a deflected Shane Gostisbehere shot with his glove and the bottom of his left pad.
Price save right before ENG pic.twitter.com/4lWASGLOVX
— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 25, 2016
- Shea Weber. Opened the scoring when his blast from inside the blue line turned Brayden Schenn’s stick into a boomerang looking contraption while the puck bounced by an unaware Steve Mason. Weber also set up the game winner. And he played a game high 26:07. Weber leads the team in scoring with seven points and leads the NHL in Plus/Minus at +10. Or are those numbers also “over-rated”?
— theScore (@theScore) October 25, 2016
- Alexei Emelin. Moved up to play alongside Weber (Clearly I wasn’t the only one who thought Nathan Beaulieu had a bad night in Boston) and responded with a superb effort. It’s not like Weber and Emelin are going to be paired for a playoff series but in the immediate short term it worked.
- Brendan Gallagher. Perfectly positioned in front of Mason but outside the blue paint to deflect Radulov’s shot for the game winning goal. Gallagher started the play himself by winning the draw in the right face off circle.
- Kirk Muller. Wasn’t about to wait around for a terrible power play in Boston to right itself. He has his extra forward on the point. And even though the first three power plays were duds (“It’s not what we’re looking for” said Muller to Marc Denis of RDS during the first period. “We’re looking for more shots.”) by the time Sean Couturier went off for tripping with less than seven minutes to play, Muller made one more overdue tweak by placing Radulov on the right point with Weber on the left. It won them the hockey game.
- Arturi Lehkonen. Bounced back from a subpar effort in Boston. Picked up his first NHL assist on the Weber goal.
- Phillipe Danault. Very strong. Much more efficient in the opposition end of the ice. Looks like his goal in Boston gave him a real boost.
- Torrey Mitchell. Drew a couple of penalties including the one on Couturier in the neutral zone to set up the game winning goal. Was 9 for 12 on face offs or 75%.
- Jeff Petry. Quietly effective following his opening game two goal performance.
- Paul Byron. Another game, another breakaway. Stymied twice from in close by Mason who entered the game unbeaten against Montreal (4-0 1.72 .936).
- Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu. Another solid effort from Pateryn and Beaulieu seemed less flummoxed on the third pairing.
- Chris Schlenker. Rookie referee, one of four new zebras in the NHL this season (including Quebec’s Pierre Lambert) Schlenker has quite the back story: He was a scrapper in the Western Hockey League (786 penalty minutes over four seasons with Regina and Prince Albert) before becoming a police officer. He then turned to officiating. The 31 year old native of Medicine Hat was voted the top referee in the Western League.
- Alex Galchenyuk. Consecutive point streak to start the season was snapped. Had another horrendous night in the face off circle where he was just 1 for 10. One of the primary reasons his trio with Gallagher and Max Pacioretty never really threatened to score.
- Tomas Plekanec. Habs must hope that his inexplicable decision to direct a perfect set up from Radulov on a 2 on 1 up in the air away from the Flyers net instead of smacking the puck in was Plekanec’s offensive woes hitting rock bottom. The only other Montreal forwards without a goal are Bryan Flynn (4 games) and Daniel Carr (2 games). We pointed out at the start of the season that it was worth watching Plekanec’s goal total since his shooting percentage last season dropped over three full points from the year before (10.5 to 7.4), not a good sign for an aging forward who has played so many hard minutes. The point was driven home to another level prior to the game by longtime Plekanec fan Sean Campbell:
— SeansteR Campbell (@seanrcampbell) October 24, 2016
It’s also worth noting that Plekanec’s salary this season is $7 million (Cap hit of 6 with a salary next season of five million). He’ll be 34 on Halloween.