Despite some poor play, the Habs are off to a decent start to their season, taking three of four points this past week. The same can’t be said for St. John’s, whose lacklustre efforts left them with a trio of losses and a lot of penalties to open their campaign.
Rather than going through the usual cheers and jeers as has been in place the last few years, I’m going to use this section to focus on specific players and their recent performances, good, bad, or otherwise.
Artturi Lehkonen – He got better as the preseason went on and that has carried over into the first couple of games in the regular season. A shoot-first mentality is something that this team doesn’t necessarily have a whole lot of so it’s nice to see someone who isn’t afraid of just putting the puck on the net and seeing what happens. I’m also pleased to see that Michel Therrien is comfortable playing him shorthanded although I’m a little perplexed as to why he was dropped to the fourth line against the Senators.
Al Montoya: He has certainly impressed in both of his starts, especially when the defence fell asleep in front of him which happened far too often. One particular thing that caught my eye was his willingness to leave the crease to play the puck. He wasn’t hesitant to do it and wasn’t bad at it either. While he’s not Carey Price in terms of puck handling, having someone back there that is at least competent in that regard can only be beneficial moving forward.
Andrew Shaw: What exactly is he trying to prove? That he can be even more of a pest? His hit against Washington (which should have had him sitting out at least one regular season game) was completely necessary and reckless and so was his slew foot on Buffalo’s Johan Larsson. I can’t speak for Marc Bergevin but I don’t think his primary reason for acquiring Shaw this offseason was to lead the league in discussions with the Department of Player Safety. Yes, he’s on a new team with a big contract and he’s trying to make an early impression. He’s not making the right type of impression early on.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Gallagher/Petry (2)
Assists: Danault/Galchenyuk/Weber (2)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (3)
+/-: Nathan Beaulieu (+5)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (10)
Shots: Artturi Lehkonen (7)
The weekend couldn’t have gone much worse for the IceCaps as they lost all three of their games to start the season. On the other hand, their focus on adding fighters is paying off as they already lead the league in penalty minutes by a considerable margin.
News and Notes:
– With Charlie Lindgren up with Montreal, the team signed Brampton goalie Bryan Pitton to a PTO. He made his first AHL appearance in nearly five and a half years. To put it nicely, it didn’t go well.
– Max Friberg has been named team captain, replacing Gabriel Dumont. Mark Barberio and Jacob de la Rose are the alternates.
– Michael McCarron received a match penalty for head butting at the end of the loss against Providence. That will trigger an automatic review for supplementary discipline.
– Lines from last game:
Hudon – McCarron – Terry
Andrighetto – Audette – Scherbak
Matteau – de la Rose – Friberg
Crisp – Gregoire – Farnham
Barberio – Johnston
Hanley – Lernout
Parisi – Didier
|20||Jacob de la Rose||3||0||0||-2||5||2|
Goals: Chris Terry (3)
Assists: Barberio/Scherbak (2)
Points: Chris Terry (3)
+/-: Four tied at (even)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (34)
Shots: Charles Hudon (12)
October 21: St. John’s vs Providence
October 22: St. John’s vs Springfield
October 23: St. John’s vs Hartford
The exhibition schedule for the Habs ended a week and a half ago but it sure feels like a lot of the players are still in preseason mode. In particular, many of the top players from last season don’t have the energy that they should be playing with early on. Maybe it’s just the carry-over effect from last year where many sleep-walked through the final weeks of the season but that isn’t going to fly now. They were able to get away with it in Buffalo in a game where the Sabres were missing several key players and where the atmosphere was reminiscent of a preseason game despite it being a home opener. But on Saturday night, the Senators came out with much more hustle and the Canadiens took way too long to respond. The preseason is over; it’s time to find that next gear and start playing like the games actually mean something.