Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Pavelec (L)
Habs goalscorers: Cammalleri, Plekanec, Weber, Moen, Pacioretty
Opposition goalscorers: Antropov
All the goals could have stood up in this spot tonight. I have to alight though on the Plekanec goal as the play of the game. The play started simply with a fine pass from Travis Moen off the boards on the penalty kill (when the pass took place). That pass cut out 3/4 of the work Pleks would have to do, including the temptation to pass to 5% Gomez. From there though, he put on a show and scored what could well be the goal of the year in the rounds of April voting. It was quick, it was skillful, and had a clinical finish.
His goal was fantastic. His pass on the 4-on-3 to Weber was perfect. His play on the PK was to his usual standard. I'm not going to lie, I'd been a bit worried about Pleks slumping for a bit perhaps the start this season. Not very worried anymore.
The Gomez line all did OK in this game. But Pacioretty stood out because he's the one that made it stick. I called his goal when he was coming down the wing, because I thought Pavelec is struggling, the player is clear and the player (Pacs) has a great shot. He scored precisely because he had a great shot. I hope he continues to use it, because frankly the Habs need a precocious goalscoring type who shoots before thinking too much.
Travis Moen – Game Puck
No player played above his own standards more in this game than Moen did. Yes, he's good on the PK and he always delivers there, but that pass he delivered tonight was a serious step up. And then what does he go and do? Only score a goalscorer's goal on a half break where he boxed out a defender and stayed composed enough to make Pavelec the fool.
I agree with the coaches. With Markov out, others lost and a lead to hold, I'd play Subban most too. It's sad to think that we're probably already taking a lot of what he does for. His patient defence and slick skates and stick in the defensive end made the 1/2 game with a mere 1-goal lead an easier spectacle for Habs fans than it used to be. Its says he took two penalties, but I'm with RDS, his roughing call after that hit on Gionta was trumped up.
Yes he has his weaknesses. Weakness funnily enough seemingly one of them. Yet who scores on the PP from a slap shot? Who had to play his defensive minutes largely with two rookies and still came out looking respectable? He doesn't make it look easy, but somehow he did things right tonight. On the ice for 3 goals for (one from a SH breakout) and 2 points. I'd leave him back there.
I think in the tweeting preview I said he'd be reliable. That's all he was in this game. He didn't let in a bad shot or even an average shot. He didn't look like he ever would. This kind of reliability is where greatness comes from.
An impressive opening for the Winnipeg Jets. I have to applaud their fans. They clearly deserve a team and are enthusiastic enough not to notice the quality on the ice for a while. I think they have some good days ahead. I like Burmistrov a lot for a 19-year-old and Schiefele didn't look like he made the team for hype.
The Habs for their part were at their opportunistic best in this one. Scoring on their 2nd shot, 3 breakaways, bullets dodged with penalties taken. The score was 5-1, but 22 shots won't always do the job. Not every team used to be the Thrashers.
Cause for concern on the Habs starts with the injuries they keep sustaining. Spacek was not a killer loss, but the team is better with him than without him, especially with their personnel right now. The loss of Cammalleri, however, could be devastating. His goal showed what talent he has and what other coaches can't ignore. For a team that may still have trouble scoring at times (we haven't forgotten Game #1 or the playoffs yet), losing a pure sniper and coverage conundrum is a big setback. Fortunately, TSN is reporting that Camms has a laceration but is expected to return within 2 weeks. This could be the goalpost luck of skate injuries if true, as we all remember how Markov's severed Achilles tendon set the team back 2 seasons ago.
Next up is a bit of a break. The NHL seems to have trouble seeing itself scheduled against baseball games or something. It's a home opener on Thursday vs. the Calgary Flames. I happened to watch the Flames last night vs. the Pens and I was slightly impressed. The Habs will have their hands full with Mark Giordano and Tanguay looks sharp to start too. Lets hope the energy of home will stir another quick start so the team can replicate their exciting gameplan, not their futile one from the comeback position a few days ago.