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Who are these “experts” who were saying the Montreal Canadiens wouldn’t reach the 200 goal mark this year? The Habs’ can’t stop scoring… seems like they’ve taken a liking to it. When it’s not the Ribeiro line buzzing in the offensive zone, it’s Michael Ryder sparking the 2nd line. And all this with no Koivu.


The Montreal Canadiens opened their season at home in good fashion on Tuesday night. They scored early and often, while the Washington Capitals could barely muster an opposition in this their 2nd game in two nights… and with their #1 goalie on the bench.


Montreal 1-0: The Washington Capitals get really sloppy in their own end, giving one opportunity after another to our checking line. Good hustle by Bulis, Juneau, and Dackell who finally takes advantage with a nice double-pump wrist shot in the top corner glove side.


Montreal 2-0: With seconds remaining in their man advantage, it all started with Brisebois who does a nice job of keeping the puck in at the blue line. He then pushes it to Audette on the boards, who passes it to Ryder on the side of the net. Ryder rushes to the net as soon as he receives the pass as if he’s going to try to jam it in, and attracts 2 defenders in the process… then slides it to Perreault in the slot with a no-look backhand pass. Perreault doesn’t miss chances like that very often, another wrist shot to the glove side beats Charpentier.

The Washington PK didn’t know what hit them, great play by Ryder.


Washington 1-2: Seconds after Montreal’s 2nd goal, Quintal completely misses the puck while trying to roll the puck around the boards… leaving it to Semin in the corner who immediately sets up Lang in the slot before Juneau could realize the Habs no longer has the puck. Theodore is beaten glove side.

This changes the momentum, the Habs are then on the heels for the rest of the period… Theodore making a great play to preserve the 1 goal lead.


Montreal 3-1: 30 seconds into the 2nd period, the Habs reclaim control of this game. Nice play by Audette who sets up Perreault right before being crushed along the boards. Perreault on his off-wing makes an inside move on his defender and shoots right away, using him as a screen, surprising the goaltender top corner on the glove side.

It seems we’re seeing another “trend” tonight.


Montreal 4-1: Quintal moves around a sliding defender trying to block his shot at the blue line, and slides down to the left of Charpentier. He attempts a pass to Bulis and was heading to the net, it hits the leg or skate of the defender checking Bulis and the puck it redirected into the net. First goal of the night not on the glove side, then again it was supposed to be a pass…


Montreal 5-1: Not officially a PP goal, but the penalty had just expired. The Habs get a great chance with Ryder setting up Perreault in the slot, but this time Charpentier is finally catching on and makes a nice glove save… it was a great shot by Perreault with perfect placement.

Brisebois then makes a pass to an open point and the puck slides to the other end of the ice, but he gets back and starts off the play to Perreault who gains the blue line and finds Audette coming down the wing… he moves in and scores with a shot between the legs. Poor Charpentier had just caught on to the Habs focusing on his glove, and now they change it up on him… not his night.




          Finally a Quebec-born goalie who didn’t have an amazing performance in Montreal, which used to happen every time the last few years. Hmm, but was it them being great or the Habs simply having no offense to speak of? Maybe this change of fortune has more to do with the Canadiens having an improved team this year, you think?

          One wants to wait before anointing Ryder the missing piece in our offense, after all we can remember Hossa scoring 5 goals in 5 games when he first came up last year… it didn’t last. That said, Ryder has impressed me much more so far than Hossa last year because he brings more energy and is more involved physically. I’m officially on the Ryder bandwagon.

          I finally noticed Jason Ward, who on a line with Chris Higgins and Niklas Sundstrom had some very good shifts… had a good forecheck going and threw his weight around.

          Only 17 shots allowed, the Julien system is really having an impact… a lot of people were asking for Julien’s head when Gainey took over, I wonder where they are now?

          Mike Ribeiro 9 out of 12 on faceoffs, 75% success rate… he didn’t have a great game but he’s improving a lot of small things that are making him successful.


Habs’ hero: The Ryder-Perreault-Audette line, they took over this game with their offense and had the PP clicking.


Habs’ zero: This won’t happen very often I’m sure, but I’m having trouble finding a zero for the second consecutive game… this time all 4 lines did well, as did the defensemen and Theodore. The only blemish could be too many penalties but I think we’ll forgive them. Ok I’ve got it, the zero today was the Habs trainer who took too much time getting a towel for Quintal in the 1st period… don’t let it happen again.  ;)


Final Thoughts:


Just as the Canadiens weren’t as bad as they looked vs. Ottawa, they aren’t as good as they’ve looked in their wins over Toronto & Washington. In was Toronto‘s first game and they were out of synch, while the Capitals were playing back to back games and had their backup in nets.

That said, the Canadiens are doing what good teams do… they’re winning the games they’re supposed to win, and taking advantage when their opponents come up with sub par nights. They used to let those games slip away last year, not anymore.

As luck would have it the Canadiens’ next game is another one they should win, with the Penguins visiting the Bell Center on Thursday and scheduled to start their backup Sébastien Caron. Let’s see if the new-look Habs can keep it up.