DESPERATION!!! And I don't mean Habs Nation should be desperate. I'm talking about the way the Canadiens need to play to be successful.
Carey Price makes the save against the Avalanche's Milan Hejduk last night at the Bell Centre. Montreal lost the game in a shootout 6-5.
Off to a slow start last night and down 1-0 early on, the Canadiens ramped up their energies and began playing with desperation. And it started to show results.
For stretches last night, the Habs put a lot of pressure on Colorado and generated many scoring opportunities. There was desperation to their play and they were able to come back and take leads in various stages of the game, the last coming off of a two goal in 20 seconds spurt in the 3rd period to only give up the tying goal late while killing a penalty by Diaz.
So this is -- as they say -- a work in progress. There were a lot of encouraging signs for the team though. Cole, Gomez and Gionta ended their 0-fers. The Desharnais - Pacioretty - Kostitsyn line was great last night -- Pacioretty showed not only a scorer's touch but playmaking abilities as well on that sweet feed on Desharnais' goal -- which by the way was created only by the hustle and insanely good backhand pass of Andrei Kostitsyn.
Plekanec was... Plekanec. Too bad he hit the post in the shootout but dem's the breaks.
Price had an off night. He knows it and he'll be better. There's no doubt about that. But the defense does look a bit soft. Gill and Subban both had rough nights, Subban having his pocket picked in centre ice by Paul Stastny who then came in alone to slide the puck between Price's pads for Colorado's 4th goal of the game.
This team needs to play hungry, desperate hockey for 60 minutes until their defensive-end coverage finds its identity. It's also obvious for the time being that for the team to win, Price has to be practically lights-out game after game -- and he wasn't last night.
We're getting there. Last year we didn't start hard out of the gates either. And there's more optimistic news. Reports say that Andrei Markov will begin skating with the team next week. Let's hope he's not that far off from making his return. Not that we shouldn't put all our hopes onto his shoulders, but let's face it -- the Habs are a much, much better team with him in the lineup.
Next game is at home against the Buffalo Sabres -- the first real test of the season.