1. It was the first time the Habs scored first since January 5th.
I enjoyed that start. I'm sure you did too. it was the first time I enjoyed the beginning of a Habs game in SEE ABOVE.
What I loved about the play was that I was annoyed at Dale Weise for botching the zone entry. What should have been a controlled pass reception ended up being a 50/50 battle on the boards. Excellent board work by Alex Galchenyuk and Weise led to the point pass, and that's where Toronto stopped playing and started watching.
They watched as Weise drifted into the slot, watched as Nathan Beaulieu lifted him the puck, and watched as he sneaked the puck to David Desharnais for the finish.
It was one of those mind-blowing Weise plays that we got accustomed to so early in the season. I expected him to shoot it for the easy save but instead he spotted a wide open Desharnais who made no mistake.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Weise is 90% useless and 10% superstar.
2. Michel Therrien's gamble finally paid off.
He rolled the dice with the line of Galchenyuk-Desharnais-Weise and after what seemed like an eternity (one and a half games) it came through ... just not in the way Therrien likely drew it up in his mind.
He ideally envisioned Weise as the digger, Desharnais as the passer and Galchenyuk as the finisher but I don't think he cares about the fact that Galchenyuk dug, Weise passed and Desharnais finished. He's just happy his team scored.
3. Daniel Carr should never have been sent down.
He is everything Therrien looks for in a player. He is tenacious. He doesn't have an off-switch. He is as close as you are getting to Brendan Gallagher without actually being Brendan Gallagher. The hard-nosed player scored a(n unofficial) hard-nosed goal.
Therrien isn't a fan of youth but when it performs the way Carr performs you can't ignore it. There is no reason for Carr to be sitting for Smith-Pelly ... nor should Sven Andrighetto for that matter. Hopefully Therrien sees that as well.
In terms of his second, I'm sure it was a goal, you just couldn't tell. Players don't celebrate the way Carr did unless they have something to celebrate about.
4. The Canadiens had 11 shots before the Leafs had one.
The first Leafs shot was a half-hearted dump in from the neutral zone. The crowd delivered the jeers and it was well deserved. Their beloved Leafs played host to the deeply disturbed Habs on a night where they honoured their franchise's best and got completely dominated.
The Leafs had nothing. Terrible zone exits, blocked at every attempt through the neutral zone, zero sustained pressure ... and of course the lack of shots on net.
The Habs were aggressive and really came out flying. We had seen this kind of play before without any reward. The early goal was a nice achievement, and I'm sure it did wonders for their team confidence.
5. Welcome back Tomas Flesichmann, where the hell were you?
Ok fine, a bit unfair considering the entire team disappeared, but it was good to see him get involved in the scoring. More of Lars Eller killing at centre too. He has some serious smarts. I thought the play was collapsing to the net (it did) but Eller was wise enough to go against the grain and hit Fleischmann with the pass.
6. Mark Barberio isn't just an NHLer, he's a great NHLer.
I feel like I have a note about him after every game. He just keeps impressing me more and more as the season rolls on. There was a play early on in the second period that stood out: Toronto had some pressure along the boards and eventually sent it into the slot. Barberio was positioned perfectly. The puck was right on his stick, but his teammates were all over to the left side of the ice defending against the forecheck. He was staring at three blue jerseys. Instead of chopping the puck out, he spun around and took the puck behind his net to try to establish a breakout. Unfortunately no winger went to the boards to meet his board-pass and the play ended up off-side.
7. The Habs' power play was horrible.
They had nothing going on. There was no cohesiveness. They couldn't maintain possession and in turn they made life easy for the Leafs. If the season is going to be saved it has to start with the powerplay and there wasn't much evidence of that happening last night.
8. You could tell it was slipping away.
The Habs got tentative, they fell into a lot of the same mistakes we have seen too many times. Lazy defensive zone coverage has really been the story and that's what we saw for both of Toronto's goals.
9. The Captain clutched the hell out of life.
Max Pacioretty had to score to keep his team alive. Max Pacioretty scored and kept his team alive. Shootouts suck, but moments like the one he gave us don't. You could tell how much that goal mattered not only to Pacioretty but to the team. With the monkey off their backs the Canadiens can look forward to an "easy" schedule in the next few weeks. By "easy" I mean not playing Chicago twice in four days. This is their last chance to string some wins together before it becomes too late to string wins together.
10. Suck it Leafs.
Go Habs Go