Canadiens Beat Blues In Dying Seconds + Wins Are Deserved
These Montreal Canadiens are making a big believer out of me.
I can't help but watch and feel like this is a team that is one that is developing chemistry and using team strengths to win games. The Habs are using speed to make everything happen and giving larger roles to young players that are proving they were worth the trust.
One of those players I've been pumping the tires of had another fantastic game last night and that is first star Mike Reilly. Reilly finally had his break out game (offensively) last night scoring a goal and notching an assist to go with almost 22 mins of ice time.
Reilly has been a revelation so far. He has provided speed and stability to the D group allowing players like Petry, Benn, and Juulsen play proper roles that have benefited them as well.
After the game last night I felt like this is the Habs team we should have seen last year. A speedy, hardworking team that took pucks to the net every time. I got even more excited when I thought that they Canadiens have looked this good and we still haven't had our best defender lace them up yet in Shea Weber. Should this team play like this consistently then the addition of Weber will be paramount to the possibility of making the playoffs.
I honestly feel this team is for real and while we may not have our own McDavid, Eichel, or Matthews this is a team that is finding success with their systems and the coaches are playing players based on performance with mostly even deployment. The team is running 3 lines that are generating chances and playing responsible hockey. It reminds me of our old teams that made some noise in recent memory, balanced lineup with a responsible and energy producing 4th line. No line is really a liability right now and that is key. When the balance is there, the team plays better as a unit and the new leadership group appears to have everyone on the same page.
And then there's my soon to be favorite player Tomas Tatar.....
What can I say... I laughed so hard at McPhee's price to acquire Tatar and I defended it (actually I still do for how he was producing and how the Golden Knights used him). When the Habs acquired him I was skeptical, but very happy about getting an elite C prospect like Suzuki so Tatar was a bonus to me.
Man oh man... Tatar fits in with the Habs style perfectly. In fact, he compliments it and has brought some of those old Red Wings playmaking smarts to the table. Tatar has been a fantastic Swiss Army knife for the Habs. He seems to be doing everything right and has made me so full from all the crow I've been eating. With a team leading 8 points (3G 5A) in 6 games and a +6 rating it's clear that he was stolen from Vegas in another McPhee blunder.
By comparison, the former Captain Pacioretty has been essentially useless for the Golden Knights seeing his ice time declining (13:24 last game) and going pointless in his last 5 games. He has 1G in 7 games, no assists, and a -3 rating. Tatar is 2 years younger, costs $4.8 mill for this year and the next 2, and has been playing more minutes for the Habs. This deal has been an absolute slam dunk for the Habs so far and we haven't even used the 2nd round pick or seen Suzuki's NHL potential.
Oh, Suzuki has 5 G and 6 A in 8 games so far in the OHL as well and is a lock for Team Canada this Winter.... It's a trade that just keeps on giving.
The Habs came out flying last game as Domi made his own Habs history scoring his first goal wearing the CH to give the Habs the lead less than a minute into the game. Reilly added his first as a Canadien as well before future Captain Gallagher put a dagger in the Blues with less than 10 seconds remaining to give the Habs a 3-2 victory. The Blues played a pretty good game as well, they definitely tested the Canadiens so it makes the victory even sweeter.
In terms of averages, the Canadiens are below average on the PP (15.4% v 21.1%) and PK (72.2% v 78.8%) but sit at 100.3 PDO so they aren't benefiting from any "Puck Luck" as they say. Their shooting percentage is almost completely on par with league average at 9.9% v 9.8% so this could be your Habs this year. A team that with some good goaltending should be able to compete every game with virtually any team.
Definitely an exciting season so far folks. Sit back and enjoy it while it lasts!
Congratulations to Tomas Plekanec on his 1000th NHL game!
Canadiens fixture T Plekanec enjoyed a touching ceremony before puck drop last night as the team showed a pretty fantastic montage spanning Plek's career as a Hab. He was presented with his sliver stick as he stood at center ice with his children and Habs brass.
It's great to have Plek back for this season. Never a guy to cause issues or negatively affect the team, Plekanec has simply played to his abilities every game, every season, and loves being a Hab. It never seems like it has to be about Plek or he is unhappy. He has played most of the hard minutes throughout his career with the Habs and if the Hockey Gods were just, he and Koivu would have lifted a Cup together. Maybe we can be blessed with that sight this season...
Plekanec will keep writing his story in the Habs history books this season and I look forward to watching it, 60 minutes at a time.
Go Habs Go!
Also, J De la Rose was claimed by the Red Wings as the Habs tried to sneak him through waivers. No doubt a decent loss for the Habs but DLR should get a substantial shot with the putrid Red Wings squad. I wish him well.