Location: New York
Habs Goalie: Budaj (L)
Opposition Goalie: DiPietro (W)
Habs goalscorers: Pacioretty, Cole, Gionta
Opposition goalscorers: Parenteau, Pandolfo, Streit, Moulson
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
Not exactly sure how he keeps doing it year after year, but Plekanec is again creeping up the assist leader board. At this point he stands at tied 7th in the NHL thanks to 2 assists in this one. Tonight he did it with little plays, the first keeping the puck under pressure to feed it back, the second keeping the puck until he saw a white shirt. Doing the little things right is a repeated cliche in this league, but in a game like this one can see why the player who does the little things right in the offensive zone gets the assists while the ones who don't always take care of all the details get none.
Canadiens fans breathe. Cammalleri is injured in name, but he's playing better to start this season than he has done in all his years here. Like many goalscorers he can disappear from view, but when good chances wake you from your haze, it's often the Cammalleri name you here. Tonight it was a few creep ins on the PP, once hitting the post and a fantastic move (if not pass) to settle the final Habs goal.
You can't blame Brian for his Gomez minutes, we can only blame the coach for thinking in that mode again. Gionta like the rest of the Habs didn't play a complete game, but in scoring that amazing 3rd goal displayed his amazing will and skill. I'd have him on the ice against the Isles any time I could.
PK was on for a couple of goals against. One he scored for the Isles. I'd argue that he was a bit unlucky to come out looking the worst of the Habs Dmen on the stats page. Less than a quarter of a second NHL season behind him and there's no question that PK will play 27 minutes all of a sudden. It's a heck of a rise to prominence in this sometimes youth averse organization. And when we dwell on mistakes we tend to overlook all the good that he does the rest of the time. At those times, he's usually the Dman you'd want on the ice, and hence the dome.
Frederic St Denis
Take a group of fans who get impatient at any November loss, a GM whose decisions are under the microscope and a coach who'd rather play any veteran than rookie and you get quite a situation for Step to step into in Montreal. 2 games into his NHL career, he's doing just fine. Of course he makes the dome because fine on this night looks mighty good.
Budaj had the headstart over Nabokov and then DiPietro in the effort to pay tribute to David Aebischer on this special night for Swiss hockey. At times, you'd have thought you were watching the previous #30 in the blue paint. He made some vintage giveaways and posted a fitting 0.879 save percentage. Carey Price would have done better (at stopping pucks, not emulating 2007 DA30), so he's in the dome.
What I saw in this game was an opponent that was ready for what they thought they'd be up against. Montreal allows you to take shots from the outside? Great, we'll take those and then work pretty hard to get the rebounds form them.
The Islanders did well to exploit the Canadiens weaknesses and were frankly lucky that Carey Price needed a night off. They need a plan like that at this point to win, but Tavares is noticeably better than the last time we all saw him and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't recognise him much at all the next time we see him. He's slick on the puck and has that drive to get goals that often seems to lack on many teams.
This loss will not go down in the record books as a good game for the Canadiens, but it's not going to derail their season. They suffered a bad ten minutes and paid dearly for it, but they can at least take hope from the fact they almost and really should have been back in it by 60 minutes.
Carolina and the Isles weren't good prep for the impressive Rangers, but this loss may just be what is needed to focus the players into tightening up their play and passes else lose bigger to a team that can really punish and close a game.
All joking aside, it's wonderful to see a game in the NHL with 4 Swiss players. The Davos hockey club is one of the very oldest hockey teams in the world and their Spengler Cup is only a few years the minor of the NHL. Swiss hockey has long tradition and its wonderful to see how their players adapt and thrive in the biggest league in the world. All the more wonderful being that it was the Habs who really enabled this to happen. Hats off to Streit too for scoring in the game.