1. Nathan Beaulieu got back in due to necessity but he will make sure he doesn't get benched again.
He knows what he has to do to stay in the lineup. He knows there are other players on the team with his skill set. He knows what he did to make his coach bench him. As good as we know Beaulieu is, Michel Therrien's standards are miles above ours and if the standards aren't met then players will sit.
We have yelled about David Desharnais and Alexei Emelin but according to Therrien they've been good enough to stay in (Emelin has drawn out, actually). What we think doesn't matter, what Therrien thinks does and that's what players have to live up to.
2. The Canadiens were tenacious early on.
I think they wanted to send the message that they weren't going quietly into the good night with the remainder of the season. Therrien started the 4th line and they came out with speed and physicality. Beaulieu fought Cedric Paquette. Emelin laid out Nikita Kucherov in the neutral zone. .
3. They got the start they wanted.
Physicality aside, they were flying and I mean FLYING. Brendan Gallagher's opener was a testament to their speed and transition game that set the tone for the 1st period. They were incredibly strong positionally in the defensive and neutral zone and that enabled them to transition strong and hard up the ice. I counted 3 successful transitions that led to scoring chances including the 3 on 1 that Gallagher buried.
4. Their puck support was outstanding.
Every puck carrier had options. Entering the zone, exiting the zone, off the rebound, the Habs were confident in their puck carrying and it showed. I hadn't seen them play with that much positional support in ages.
The puck carrier had the luxury of at least 3 options entering the zone and if he lost the puck he had support to maintain possession. That's what good teams do. They support the puck carrier with options and keep defenders occupied with the possibility of several offensive attack possibilities.
5. They were outshot but they made the Lightning make mistakes.
They were so aggressive throughout the game. The Lightning never had an easy out. They bobbled the puck, made errant passes and turned the puck over to create high danger chances. The Habs showed signs of a good team getting their groove back.
Final scoring chances 26-20 in favour of the @TBLightning, high danger chances 15-5 for @CanadiensMTL pic.twitter.com/eueobPzjAv— Sportlogiq (@Sportlogiq) February 10, 2016
6. Devante Smith-Pelly was better.
He took a dumb penalty early on but never looked back. He was aggressive, he crashed the net, he did everything a player of his caliber needed to do in order to be effective. His goal mouth marker was a "right place right time" goal and that's fine by me.
7. Michel Therrien made key in-game adjustments...a lot of them.
Dale Weise has been absolutely ineffective with Desharnais and Max Pacioretty and his boss took notice. Weise was moved to the 4th line, Sven Andrighetto was moved to the Pacioretty line and DSP slotted in with Lars Eller and Tomas Fleischmann.
This is important. We've seen Therrien mix up lines when his team is struggling but we haven't seen it when his team just flat out needed it. The lineup needed a small tinkering and Therrien made the necessary moves. Andrighetto worked well with Desharnais and Pacioretty almost immediately. By using players in their proper roles the Canadiens will continue to find their way.
Of course, it's a give and take with Therrien. He moved DSP up when he scored and Andrighetto down. He put Mitchell with the dynamic duo. I can't read Therrien. Like at all.
8. Ben Scrivens stopped everything he saw.
He had no clue where the Lightning's goal was but that's OK. The Habs didn't give the lightning the chance to do what they did on that goal again and that's what matters. Learn from defensive mistakes and don't make them again. Scrivens looked like a starting goalie. He had no chance on both goals.
9. The Powerplay was the best I've seen all year.
Amazing what a lack of Weise will do. Ok, I digress, but you have to notice how the absence of 4th liners and the addition of pure skill made a huge difference. Even though they didn't connect I was very impressed by their puck movement and ability to wreak havoc in the box.
10. Three in a row.
Are we witnessing the beginning of a season-saving run?
I don't know. What if am some kind psychic? If I was I would exploit it and get a TV show.