Montreal’s 2019-20 season kicked off with a pair of very fast-paced games on the road. They trailed in both, led in both, and wound up going to a shootout in both as well as they ultimately split the two to pick up three of a possible four points.
The Week That Was
Oct. 3: Hurricanes 4, Canadiens 3 (SO) – It was a slow start for the Habs on the scoreboard as they were down 2-0 early in the second before a power play goal from Tomas Tatar (whose faceoff violation earlier in the period helped lead to Carolina’s second goal) seemed to get them back on track. They actually held the lead in the third before Erik Haula tied it up while Dougie Hamilton had the winner in the shootout.
Oct. 6: Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 5 (SO) – This game had just about everything. There were plenty of top-notch scoring chances, tons of defensive mishaps, a Shea Weber shooting gallery in overtime, and a comeback from a three-goal deficit in the third period capped by a penalty shot goal from Jeff Petry after Kasperi Kapanen threw his broken stick in his direction. Montreal-Toronto games have been rather intriguing as of late and this just adds to that.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: 8 tied with (1)
Assists: Gallagher/Lehkonen/Weber (2)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (3)
+/-: Victor Mete (+4)
PIMS: Tomas Tatar (4)
Shots: Jeff Petry (12)
News And Notes
– By not recording a goal in his first two games this season, Victor Mete has matched Mike Komisarek’s mark of 122 games to start his NHL career (with Montreal) without scoring a goal. The record will be his alone if he doesn’t score on Wednesday.
– Ben Chiarot’s ice time of 25:44 against Toronto was the second-most of his career. The only game in which he played more came back on February 11, 2017 against Tampa Bay where he logged 26:53.
– On a completely different note, Canadiens mascot Youppi is on the preliminary ballot for the 2020 Mascot Hall of Fame induction. (Yes, this actually exists…) The first round of voting is now open so if you’re so inclined, click here to vote.
Last Game’s Lines:
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Domi – Suzuki
Drouin – Kotkaniemi – Armia
Byron – Thompson – Weal
Mete – Weber
Chiarot – Petry
The Week Ahead
Oct. 9: at Buffalo – The Sabres have been lighting the lamp out of the gate with ten goals over the first two games. They’ve also been adept defensively as their 1.5 GA/game rate is the second-best in the East. Yes, it’s early but it appears that Buffalo is starting off in the right direction under new head coach Ralph Krueger.
Oct. 10: vs Detroit – Montreal gets to have their home opener against a team that they’ve had a fair bit of success against in recent years. The Red Wings didn’t undergo many changes this summer on the ice although Steve Yzerman taking over as GM. Anthony Mantha will be one to watch for is he’s off to a strong start this season. This game starts a stretch of seven straight against Canadian teams for Detroit.
Oct. 12: vs St. Louis – In a bit of a scheduling oddity, this the first of two straight Saturday matchups against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. The Blues made a notable trade late in training camp to acquire Justin Faulk to bolster their back end but beyond that, they’ve basically kept their team intact from a year ago.
With only two games played on the season, it’s hard to really take note of any trends with the team or really get excited or concerned about any players in particular. One thing that it’s fair to comment on this early is Montreal’s resiliency. Last season, they were a team that rarely gave up and that helped them get back into some games that they otherwise likely wouldn’t have. That’s not a trend that automatically carries over from one year to the next but judging by the first two games, it appears as if this game has that characteristic in them again for this season. Obviously, the preference would be to get the lead early and keep it (protecting a third period lead is something they’ll need to get better at as well) but their two multi-goal comebacks in as many games is certainly an encouraging sign to start the season.