Opponent: Maple Leafs
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Reimer (W)
Habs goalscorers: None
Opposition goalscorers: Lombardi, Phaneuf
I don't know why on earth we waited till the last two minutes to prove that we indeed have offensive talent, but sure enough it was there for all to see. In the dying moments of the game Montreal overwhelmed Toronto, but they couldn't get one in; another classic case of too little too late. Weber stood out, for me, in those moments as someone who could have (and will) make a difference with that shot of his.
He was -2 and was not at his best, but still was one of our better ones tonight. I suppose that happens when your coach relies so heavily on you and uses you in all situations. The expectations are high for Tom this year, and even though I know he can handle it, I do think other people have to step up and overshadow him from time to time.
I was just happy to see Max back on the ice. Tonight he played like his old self and, from what I could tell, with no real fear. The chemistry with G + G is certainly there, but their timing needs some serious work. He should be a good player for us this year and I'm excited to see him play the whole time. Let's hope that his linemates can help him become the player that we all hope he can be.
Who had 2 periods? Well, if you did, you won that bet. That was how long Andrei lasted on a top-2 line before his chance was up. He'll be back up there soon, I am sure, but I am not sure that benching, then demoting one of your top forwards after a penalty is the way to go. Early on, when he was playing, I saw a lot of good stuff from Kostitsyn (including a post) and think that he'll bounce back next game. Whether he will have learned his lesson to not be the 1 out of 10 to get called for hooking is another story.
It was very good to see Josh back as it was a reminder of just how calm and reliable a defenceman we have in him. He did a good job tonight and could easily be counted on for more than his 19 minutes.
I was pleasantly surprised with Diaz's play tonight. He looked better than Gill (but who doesn't in October?) and did just as well as anyone else out there. I didn't go with PK tonight because I felt that he was, at times, careless and that his -2 rating was not a good way to start the season. Spacek was fine, Weber was fine and Campoli did alright till he got hurt, but I did think Raphael was the one of those that I enjoyed watching the most.
Carey Price - Game Puck
Well, at least one of the squad was ready for the season. Carey was the only player to play to his true form tonight and it was almost enough for us to get a result. With him in nets it won't matter some nights what team is in front of him. If we want him to last till June this year (and in many years to come), however, then I really hope that his teammates start making it a little easier for him.
The positive: It is a long season and you can't win them all, you are going to lose between 25-40 games. We know we have a good team and we know we are better than Toronto, so what is one game?
The negative: How can we play a game, a real-live, regular season game like that? What is the excuse? Toronto are not a good team and won't be this year, but after watching that I am not 100% sure that we are a good team either. If that is the best this team has to offer we will be in some serious trouble in a few weeks.
Now, for the realistic approach. We were good in the first and totally dominated a poor version on the Maple Leafs. It was a good example of how we didn't capitalize on our chances, though as being the 'better' team means absolutely nothing at the end of the day. After that our special-teams let us down (which includes the taking of 4 penalties) and we never found any rhythm whatsoever. We turned it up in the last few minutes, but goals cannot just be summoned and, thus, it ended up being far too little at that point to matter.
We'll have to wait 5-10 games to see what type of team we really have here, but I will certainly watch a little closer over the next week or so to make sure that tonight's game (I hope) was the anomaly.