It's often said that after a long road trip, the first home game is a bit of a disappointment. The Canadiens turned that on it's head by completely outplaying the Senators, but the pesky Senators always find a way to make the game close.
Eller has been on another level lately, and it was no surprise when he opened the scoring off of some great work down low from Gabriel Dumont. The assist was Dumont's first career NHL point. Dumont, Eller and Galchenyuk combined for 22 shot attempts in the game, 12 of which hit the net.
Galchenyuk and Eller also both scored in the shootout, with Eller getting the deciding goal on Sens goalie Robin Lehner.
Speaking of players who are on another level, since Raphael Diaz went down with a concussion and he was given a tough minutes role, P.K. Subban has 4 goals and 8 assists in his last 8 games. If there is any defenseman in the NHL who's playing better than P.K. right now, I'd like to know who they are.
Subban played a season high 30:50 last night, every shift of which was solid to spectacular. When Diaz does return, the Canadiens' top 5 is going to look extremely good.
Speaking of the Canadiens defense, young Greg Pateryn's 3 game NHL tryout is over, as he's been sent back down to Hamilton. Pateryn looked a little green at times but he didn't cost the team, which is a good sign. It's Jarred Tinordi's turn for a tryout now.
The one worrying thing about the Canadiens right now is that Carey Price has had just a single quality start in his last 6 games. On the one hand, that the Canadiens can win this year without Price at his best is something new and promising, but on the other, Price is here and paid so well because he's an elite goaltender, and he's got to snap out of this funk and play like it.
A lot was made on the TSN telecast of Price cheating off the post on Alfredsson's goal, but honestly it was a perfect shot, and it would have beat him had he moved or not. If there was any criticism to lay at Price's feet on the goal, it's that he wasn't covering the top of the net. But players like Daniel Alfredsson score those kinds of goals.
The only ugly goal on Price last night was scored by Patrick Wiercioch, a wrister from the high slot through Price's fivehole that tied the game early in the third. Price's reaction to the goal showed that he wasn't very impressed with himself, it was a shot that he's got to stop.
The curious thing about Price's season is that his even strength save percentage is right up there with the two elite seasons he's had, 2007-08 and 2010-11, but his PK save percentage is just horrible. Part of this is obviously going to be some bad puck luck, but it makes me suspect that the PK is far worse than a lot of people think it is. I'll be looking into that shortly.
Check out Silver Seven for reaction from the losing side.