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As we said following the Ottawa game, the keys to the Habs success this season are their overall defensive play in Julien’s new system, special teams, and Jose Theodore. Just as all 3 failed the other night, they all got a passing grade this time, and the Habs won.


The Canadiens did a better job tonight, limiting Toronto’s chances, and scored on both the PP and the PK. Theodore made the big saves when he needed to, namely on Mogilny’s breakaway when the score was still tied, and was solid all night. We have to mention that Toronto really gave this game away with all the penalties they took, but credit the Habs with staying more disciplined.


Montreal also benefited from having a game under their belts coming in, they came to play tonight while Toronto wasn’t quite clicking in their 1st game of the year.


Montreal 1-0: Markov shot from the point, double-deflection off Tucker’s stick then Ribeiro’s shoulder. Belfour had no chance on the play. Not all goals will be as pretty as Mike’s 1st of the season vs. Ottawa, he went to the front net and was rewarded. 

Those are the small things the Canadiens weren’t doing last year, Ribeiro in particular is starting to do a lot of little things right. Good effort from the kid so far.


Montreal 2-0: On the PP, Markov finds Zednik coming off the bench with a nice cross-ice pass.  Zednik shoots from the top of the circle and scores, with thanks to Perreault, who was going to the net.

Are we noticing a pattern here?


Montreal 3-0: On the PK, Souray makes the exact same play he did in the pre-season. He joined the rush despite being short-handed, caught Toronto by surprise and completed a 2-on-1 with Joe Juneau.

Juneau has been on the scoresheet in both games so far, seems like he’s motivated to end his career on a high note, with this being his last year.

It’s safe to say Dykhuis or Traverse would not have made that play, welcome back Sheldon.


Montreal 4-0: Even strength , Ryder finally gets a much deserved goal after being stopped on 6 previous shots.  Ryder went to the net hard and finished off Audette’s play. Assisted by Audette and Rivet.


The Canadiens being as offensively challenged as they are, they’ll need their defensemen to be a part of the offence as they were tonight (Souray 1G, Markov 2A, Rivet 1A, Brisebois 1A)




          Perreault came to take some faceoffs in the defensive zone for the Ribeiro line, then immediately went to change for Hossa.  Good use of the team’s faceoff leader by Julien as the Habs were facing a formidable faceoff team with the likes of Sundin and Nieuwendyk. Habs won 31 faceoffs.

          Dwyer got Belak to take an indisciplined penalty during the 1st period, that’s the best way Dwyer can help his team since he seems unable win any of his fights since the Habs picked him up off waivers last year. We still can’t wait for Langdon & Bégin to join the lineup.

          Brisebois-Hainsey, who were the #1 PP pair, switched sides to be in better position to launch a few one-timers.


Habs hero: Ribeiro, Markov, Ryder, and Zednik all deserve mention, but the honour goes to Theodore who was brilliant making 21 stops for his 18th career shutout.


Habs zero: Traverse (even being demoted doesn’t stop from being a ‘Zero’). Seriously though, it’s hard to pick someone on a night where the Habs had a real team win. I’ll mention Jason Ward who has yet to establish himself, and who’s seen Ryder leapfrog him in the depth chart.

When all the injured return, Ward might find himself in the press box if he doesn’t get going.


Final Thoughts : Great team effort by the Canadiens, Julien’s system was played to perfection.


Box Score

1st Period
  2nd Period
 Montreal 4:00, Mike Ribeiro 2 (Andrei Markov)  
 Montreal 12:45, Sheldon Souray 1 (shorthanded) (Joe Juneau, Andreas Dackell)  
 Montreal 12:45, Richard Zednik 1 (power play) (Andrei Markov, Patrice Brisebois)  
  3rd Period
 Montreal 16:40, Michael Ryder 1 (Donald Audette, Craig Rivet)

Shots : 22-21 Montreal