Opponent: Maple Leafs
Win: 4-3 (OT)
Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Toskala (L)
Habs goalscorers: Gionta, Moen, Metropolit, Gorges
Opposition goalscorers: Ponikarovsky, Stajan (2)
I seem to remember Carbo taking a lot of heat for having Metropolit on the PP last year in Dallas. Well, tonight Martin too liked the right-handed centreman's chances and put him on in the final minutes. The Habs were up a man thanks to Komisarek's bone-headed 14th and 15th penalty minutes of the game. On the PP the Habs worked the puck back to the point and a nice hard shot/pass was put right to the side of the net by Josh Gorges. The player waiting there was Glen Metropolit who was able to deflect the puck up and over Toskala. It was a very timely goal that essentially bought us our ticket into OT.
Mike Cammaelleri - Game Puck
Mike played a great game tonight that was just full of speed and energy. He made an incredible pass on our first PP goal to Gionta right after Pleks lost (yet he still got a point) an offensive zone face-off. He then led a spirited rush in OT that caught the Tornto defence flat-footed. He may not have scored the goal, but he was the main reason Gorges had such a large hole to shoot at. His team-high 5 shots and those 2 assists tell me that he made the most of his 21+ minutes.
I have to say that Glen was probably the biggest surprise for me tonight. His goal and assist already have be re-thinking my meager predictions for his season totals. I actually liked how he led his line and thought that Moen and Laraque did their jobs quite well too. Glen's goal was a thing of beauty and his assist, on Moen's goal was a good demonstration of how hard work sometimes does get rewarded as he battled to get the puck out front.
Habs fans (this one included) have become more and more excited with Gionta the player over the past few weeks and I think it is for good reason. He showed tonight how fast he is, how good his positioning is and my, oh my, just how good his hands are. He managed just one goal, but his hands and offensive positioning gave him at least two other glorious chances. He worked well with Gomez as they always seemed to know where the other one was on the ice.
I am very happy for Josh tonight as he really deserves to be a hero. He has battled ever since joining this team and I couldn't think of a better way for him to start a season with a, essentially, new team. His OT goal was crucial and should bring a lot of confidence to this bunch. His assist, on the tying goal, was very astute and reminds us all that he can be an offensive force from the blue-line when needed (Markov and Hammer were both absent by this time).
Jaro picked up the bulk of the work after Markov went down with what appeared to be a laceration (from Price's skate) to the leg. I think that I was hoping for more from Spacek on the PP tonight, but, to be fair, it was his first game with the team. He played well enough offensively, but I feel there will be a lot better stuff to come. To me, however, he was still our second best defender as he was sound in his own end (something at least 2 others can't claim about themselves). Ideally Spacek is a #3 (#4 if Josh carries this play forward), but with Marky and Roman MIA he filled in nicely as a 1b.
Toronto was a team that had Carey's number last year and all I can say is so far, so good. He wasn't spectacular tonight, but he was solid. He kept the rebounds close, didn't stray into any danger zones to handle the puck and really did well in terms of covering the bottom of the net. In all the Leafs had 46 shots, but I must say that I never felt Price would let us down. He had my confidence tonight and also seemed to have the team's and even his own too. This is only one game, but coming off the tumultuous '08-'09 season I'll take this performance; definitely something to build upon.
The start of a season is always a weird thing. Part of you can't wait for hockey and after 6 months off you are ready to get back into the routine. There is another part of you, however, that just doesn't remember what it was like to have the NHL in your life. It is a great feeling and it always feels so weird for the first little while; almost like it was never not there. So, the season tonight started with a lot of anticipation, but after just a few minutes it was as though hockey and I had never been apart. The difference this year, of course, being that the Habs I knew and loved are gone and it is time to fall in love with a whole new crew. Training camp and the summer is one thing, but when you finally see those sweaters on it hits home. You start to think - oh ya, Gomez is a Hab, or man Kostopoulos' name just got a lot shorter (and better) or even, right that isn't the Sens' coach at all.
The game itself was a fiery affair thanks mostly to 'I-have-something- to-prove' Mike Komisarek. I don't know if he was trying to prove to Habs fans that he was indeed tough and a force or maybe he was trying to tell Leafs fans that we were right about him all along - he does take stupid penalties (4 in all), he will hit at the expense of defence and he just isn't as great as the price-tag would have you believe. I have to say that Mike really was the biggest story for me tonight; whatever he did seemed to have a direct impact on the game. Luckily for us, though, he helped his old team more than his new one. Toronto looked alright, but then again our defence looked bad. Their D looked OK or was that our O trying to find its way together. Even their goaltender kept them in the game, forgetting of course how few shots he faced. All in all it was a classic Habs-Leafs affair. It was chippy, spirited and for the most part it wasn't pretty. It was, however, a good start for the Habs as I think starting the season well (because of all of the new additions) is imperative. Next up is a trip to Buffalo and a chance to stretch our conference lead.