The key to the Montreal Canadiens’ season will be team defence, special teams, and Jose Theodore. Sadly, with all three failing to deliver, the Habs had ‘one of those nights’. The Canadiens also had to avoid the penalty box against such a potent
From that point Ottawa took over, applying an overwhelming forecheck that had the Canadiens reeling for the next 5 minutes.
– Claude Julien thought the team was a little too excited or nervous, didn’t stick to the game plan and made too many mistakes and faulty execution.
– Habs lost the faceoff war 41-25, all centers were under 40% including faceoff “king” Yannick Perreault.
– The plus/minus goats of the night were Audette, Perreault, Rivet, and Bulis all at (-2) for the night. And for Rivet that doesn’t count the 2 other goals he was on the ice for on the PK.
– The Souray-Quintal pairing had some communication problems, didn’t look as good as 2 years ago.
– Hainsey looked good offensively, but was struggling defensively all game long.
– Jose Theodore had a good game considering the opponents and the lack of support from his defensemen. He was very solid on many instances when his team left him alone out there. However, on the Alfredsson play, the team needed him to steal one to keep them in it… and he couldn’t do it.
– Ryder did well despite starting on the 4th line. If he keeps playing this way he won’t be on the 4th line for long.
Habs’ hero: Mike Ribeiro. As he did all pre-season he made things happen offensively every time he touched the puck, made a few great passes and scored a beautiful goal. Wasn’t dominant all night, but then again, who was?
He was the Habs’ best player, and yet one wonders what will happen to him when Koivu is ready to return… stay tuned. Many fans said Ribeiro only looked good in the pre-season or against weaker teams, Ottawa must be weak then…
Habs’ zero: Donald Audette & Craig Rivet.
Audette missed defensive assignments on two of the goals and spent more time lying on the ice than standing on his skates. Hitchcock got sick of him because he couldn’t play in his defensive system, one wonders if Gainey is about to have a feeling of déjà vu.
Rivet was on the ice for 4 of the 5 Ottawa goals, and personally responsible for two of them. Komisarek was left out, somehow I can’t imagine him doing any worse.
Final thoughts : The Habs didn’t look good, but they were facing what might be the best team in the league. As the team settles into Claude Julien’s system and the injured players return, the Canadiens can look forward to better things in the future.