Canadiens @ Sabres - Extended Game Recap

Rick Stewart

A two goal lead in the third period evaporated into a shootout loss. It's Buffalo typical, and it happens like twice a season against this team of trolls.

Over the last couple weeks, you could kind of feel this coming. Not that the Canadiens were deserving of wracking up a couple losses, but that they weren't good enough to be immune to it, and the percentages were going their way a heck of a lot early.

Against Boston the game was relatively even, with mostly good officiating, with good goaltending, and no lucky breaks. It was an acceptable loss against a hated rival.

Last night the Canadiens outplayed the Sabres at even strength, suffered from horrible officiating, and horrible goaltending.

The loss isn't entirely on Peter Budaj, but it's kind of entirely on Peter Budaj. There's only so much you can expect from your backup goalie, and this is something a lot of Habs fans don't seem to understand after being used to seeing Carey Price play nearly every game. The question though, is why Price wasn't starting in the first place. I highly doubt he was too tired, guy is unreal.

If Price was in net last night, it's probably a 4-1 win, but let's try not to dwell on that for a minute.

Ryan White drew back into the lineup after being taken out for 2 games for taking a double minor that blew the game against the Ottawa Senators. White is a really good 4th line player, but he did the same damn thing last night.

To be fair to him, Steve Ott clearly instigated a fight then refused to drop the gloves. Which isn't surprising because Ott is a piece of shit. Another point in White's favour is that John Scott grabbed him from the bench, which is supposed to be an automatic 5 minute major, and it wasn't called. Tim Peel is a moron.

But, Ryan White needs to calm down. He's too good of a player to keep pulling boneheaded moves like this.

Speaking of boneheaded, Tim Peel is a bonehead.

Thomas Vanek is a Hab killer. I really can't wait until he regresses. The asshole is shooting at 23.8%.

Speaking of assholes, let's have a conversation about sportsmanship. The NHL currently does nothing to players who act like idiots during the shootout. Hell, you can take a major penalty with a second left in overtime and be the first shooter in the shootout, but it's high time they do something, and it has to be immediate.

Tyler Ennis was stopped by Budaj in the shootout, but the puck came back to him, and he wired the rebound off of Budaj's head. Is Budaj hurt? No. But it was unsportsmanlike, and extraordinarily douchey (so it fits with the Sabres). As far as I'm concerned, if a player does something like that in a shootout, his team should be docked a goal.

After 10 games, it's probably a good time to do a little review, and considering what most people were expecting, can we really be displeased with a .650 winning percentage? At the Canadiens' current pace, they're looking at about a 62 point season, which should be good enough challenge for the Northeast division title. In a full season, that pace would be a 107 point season.

The Canadiens continue to be a very strong possession team after 10 games, top 5 overall in Fenwick when the score is tied and when the score is within one goal.

Carey Price is second in the NHL among starting goaltenders for save percentage with a sterling .936, and second in goals against average with 1.74. Price's personal 6 game winning streak ended against Boston, one short of his career high of 7.

The Canadiens' 31 goals tie them for 4th in their conference, but they've played one fewer game than Ottawa, so technically they're in fourth. The Canadiens also rank 4th in goals allowed, but 9 of the 24 goals they've conceded this season have been against Budaj in two rough outings for him.

Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, and P.K. Subban are all off to a point per game pace to begin the year. Remember how Subban used to be a slow starter offensively? I guess he decided that this year he didn't have time for that after missing 6 games due to his contract negotiation taking longer than everyone wanted.

The Canadiens have an extremely solid top line, but it isn't the one many expected. A rejuvenated Rene Bourque has been crashing the net with aplomb, and it's resulted in a team leading 31 shots (tied with Plekanec) and 7 points in the first 10.

The Canadiens are 1-1-1 on the road, and 2-3-1 against their own division. You can choose to fret about those numbers if you wish, but they've been routinely outplaying their opponents, so you can expect those records to improve throughout the season.

Not the start you would expect of a team that finished 28th in the NHL last year, but then things were never quite as bad as they seemed last year.

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