Tonight, the Habs took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in Montreal, to kick of the week of celebration in honour of 100 years of the Montreal Canadiens organization. Sadly, the currenty edition of the Habs laid a goose egg and looked like a tired, disorganized and overall bad team in the process. Hey, when the Leafs make your team look bad, you know things are bad.
From the beginning of the game, Montreal was a step behind the Leafs and was losing battles. Once the pucks started to go in, the team lost more and more momentum until this one was over. While the night started with the fabulous news that the NHL board or governers had approved the Molson's as owners of the Habs, and the Als were welcomed to thunderous applause for their victory this past weekend, it ended with a shower of boos rained down on the home team who looked more like an expansion team than one that has been around for 100 years.
Ok, on with it then...
1 - Montreal simply came out flat. While Toronto was the team that played two games in two nights, Montreal was the team that looked tired and slow. For most of the game, Montreal was being beaten to loose pucks, losing battles along the boards, missing defensive assignments and generally playing like a disorganized bunch. The Leafs, to their credit, pressed hard and got the goals they needed to seal the deal.
2 - Everyone was invisible tonight. While you could see that Plekanec, and a few others, were trying, no one really stood out. With all the pre-game pomp and the boisterous crowd, you would imagine that the Habs would have been jumping to start the match. Instead, it was Toronto that took the play to Montreal from the opening faceoff.
3 - Gomez was back and no one noticed. RDS announced, at one point, that Gomez has gone 43 periods without scoring a goal. Ya, that sounds like an $8 Million man to me. While Gomez was clearly trying, he just looks lost out there without Gionta on his wing. When those two are together, good things happen, but Gomez has got to be able to produce and be successful with a variety of line mates if he is going to be the #1 center on this team.
4 - Price was less than stellar. While he did make some great saves, the second goal he let in was weak. The problem with that goal is that you could tell that it was very deflating to the team. Granted, that is not an acceptable excuse for the players, but the reality is that after the second goal went it, the momentum shifted markedly in Toronto's favour and never came back. Key saves at key times is what makes a goal an elite goal, and tonight Price wasn't able to deliver the goods. That being said, if the team in front of him scores ZERO goals, then the team isn't going to win regardless of how many saves he makes.
5 - MaxPac has got to stop taking bad penalties at bad times. He took one less than two minutes into the game and one right off the bat to start the third. Both penalties inhibited the Habs ability to setup any early momentum. It is errors like that that cost teams points and lose teams games.
On a personal note, there is nothing quite as painful as watching the Habs lose against Toronto. In a week when we are supposed to be celebrating the deep history of this fabled organization, I would say that this game is one that we surely wish we could strike from their history. The Habs vs. Leafs it was, but a classic is was not!
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