Canadiens Collect Four Points in Back-To-Back This Weekend
Coach Michel Therrien went on the record saying he wanted his team to send a message after losing 5-1 this past week in Ottawa.
Well I think the team received the memo.
Two strong team wins against divisional rivals the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators put your Montreal Canadiens in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. And if you want to get technical about it, the Habs with 12 points are tied with the Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning -- and the Pens have played one more game but get the nod because they lead their division.
Who could have imagined this?
Well, GM Marc Bergevin and Coach Therrien, that's who.
But even they couldn't have anticipated their team going 6-2 to start the season. Hey, it's only eight games, but there's no doubt it's been night and day from last year and with a healthy team, excellent goaltending and scoring through the lineup, you're going to see results.
And there's the continuing, inspirational story of Max Pacioretty, who returned to action a week after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. He was scheduled to return in three to four weeks.
Last year's Canadiens gave up leads, lost games in OT and shootouts and found ways to beat themselves -- kind of like the Calgary Flames are doing this year.
This year's squad is playing a solid team game, standing up for each other and scoring goals. On Saturday the Canadiens came out flying and took it to the Sabres who looked flat and uninspired safe for Tomas Vanek -- who is making an early play for the Hart and Maurice Richard trophies.
But if we've learned anything from last year's Canadiens, one scorer or even one scoring line does not a team make.
And so after promising his mates pre-game he'd be better, Ryan Miller did his best to keep his team in the game by only surrendering one goal to Rene Bourque right at the end of the first period. Bourque nearly scored a few minutes back on almost the exact same play -- driving the net and deflecting the pass into the side of the net. Nice play. For a second he looked like Yvon Lambert, without the chest hair jutting out from his jersey.
Did you ever see Mike Cammellari drive the net like that? I tweeted this question to the official Calgary Flames twitter account last night. I didn't get a response.
Coach Therrien continues to keep his finger on the right button in getting the most out of Rene Bourque and he's been one of our most consistent players of this young season, scoring two goals in the Canadiens' 6-1 drubbing of the Sabres. David Desharnais and Lars Eller had big games too, D2 scoring twice and Eller scoring one along with two assists. The two Gallys also came to the party with Brendan Gallagher scoring the game winner and Alex Galchenyuk getting two assists.
But the Canadiens were in for a different test on Sunday afternoon with the well-rested Ottawa Senators in town and they grabbed the early lead on a nice top shelf shot by Jacob Silfverberg when he was sent in alone with a nifty pass by Patrick Wiercioch. Price had no chance.
The Habs special teams came to the rescue with David Desharnais and Erik Cole closing the scoring out in the first period to take the lead 2-1, though Cole's goal came just at the end of a power play. Desharnais' goal came off of a nice feed from Pacioretty who seems to be able to play no matter what is thrown at him. Just please Max, don't contract Hep C or anything!!
Then it was Carey Price the rest of way, turning back 32 of 33 shots and taking his record to 6-1. Carey Price, Vezina trophy winner sounds good. Though Carey Price, Conn Smythe trophy winner sounds even better! But I digress...
The Senators appeared to have tied the game early in the third but the goal was called off due to goaltender interference. It was pretty borderline in my opinion and according to Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail Ottawa GM Bryan Murray was livid with the referee's call on that play. Well you win some, you lose some. Nice to see the Habs win some.
So the Canadiens are winning games all sorts of ways this year and don't seem to be counting on trends like having to score first or whatnot. The only trend that counts is winning, any and all ways.
Habs Nation is a very happy place right now and this sets up beautifully the BIGGEST GAME OF THE YOUNG SEASON so far against the hated Boston Bruins on Wednesday. Should be a good one.
Follow-moi on le twitter: @HabsFanLeafLand