1. Who are you and what have you done with Alexei Emelin?
He looks like the Emelin we were excited about when he first came over from Russia. I have been one of Emelin's harshest critics, and believe that criticism was well deserved. He's earning all the praise he's getting from me these days.
I thought he played really well against Dallas, highlighted by a stellar backcheck that negated a solid breakaway chance, and his strong play carried over to the Sabres game. He's playing with confidence. He's using his size effectively and is mobile on the blue line and behind the goal line. It's good to see.
Having said all that, this is the perfect time to trade him. His contract is too heavy to keep around for the type of player he is. While this may be a revival, it is more than likely a hot streak and they need to capitalize off of it and get a prospect or a draft pick for that contract.
2. The Habs were fantastic in transition.
The defense was incredible on the move last night. Their regroup was seamless and they turned defence into offence in the blink of an eye.
The neutral zone forecheck left the Sabres with no options, and the defence corps turned it right back the other way when the puck was recovered.
One thing I noticed was that the puck was rarely sent in deep. The defense didn't have to curl behind the net to start the breakout, they had the luxury of working between the blue line and the goalie. That's the result of strong neutral zone play by the forwards.
3. The Habs' logjam at centre is annoying.
I get what they're doing and we're going to have to live with it for now, but I hope they figure it out by next season.
Ideally your top three centres are Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller. I know that they want to see what Michael McCarron can do, and I know that they are thin on the wing, which is why Lars Eller is slotted in where he is.
Obviously you want Galchenyuk and Eller to play in the middle, but if I have to choose between the two I choose Galchenyuk on the spot every day and twice on Sundays (even though Eller is much better at centre than on the wing).
Wait and see what happens when David Desharnais comes back.
4. Alex Galchenyuk is going to be a rich, rich individual.
Richer than he is now, anyway.
I'm sure he's happy he took the bridge deal.
I am running out of adjectives to describe Galchenyuk's scoring pace these days. Torrid. Incendiary. Chuck Norris.
I have to stop or I'll have nothing to use in future posts.
He's making Habs fans happy and Michel Therrien haters happier. He is their offensive catalyst, and easily the hottest scorer in the NHL right now.
The best part about all of this is that he's constantly making Therrien look like an idiot for his reluctance to play him at his natural position.
Open that wallet, Geoff.
5. Galchenyuk and Pacioretty are a dangerous duo.
It's a shame it took them this long to get a look. They should never play an even-strength or power-play shift without each other. Sven Andrighetto is a seat filler for the ailing Brendan Gallagher. Obviously Gallagher slots back in on right wing when he returns ... whether it be this or next season. That trio can be a lethal line.
6. Jack Eichel is a special player.
He's ahead of the game. It's really a treat to watch. He's one of those players that sees the game in slow motion and reacts before the play happens. At that age, we're in for a proper show from this kid over the course of his career.
There were so many moments last night when I was frustrated from a Sabres point of view because they were too slow for Eichel's thinking. He wanted to create plays and his linemates couldn't keep up so he just took matters into his own hands and created scoring chances.
He's great on the other side of the puck too. I noticed multiple times when he would backcheck and play the role of defender just because he could.
Carlo Colaiacovo is the anti-Jack Eichel. He is AWFUL.
7. McCarron has been good, not great.
I know he's being given a rough go by being thrown into the centre role to start his NHL career, and flanked by fourth liners all the while.
But I want more.
He's been perfectly acceptable given the circumstances, doing everything that he's been tasked to do. He's working hard down low, using his size and strength well. He's held his own defensively, and demonstrates good hockey sense.
I still want more.
I know he's capable of more. I'm sorry but I can't settle for just "good" when it comes to McCarron. I have high expectations as I'm sure all of you do. The thing about McCarron is that I think he will meet them. There is something there. He came close to notching his first career goal last night. I must be patient ... but I want more.
8. Mike Brown hits a lot.
I know that a lot of hits is an indication that a player doesn't have the puck much, but I want to share these numbers.
He had nine hits against Dallas. He finished the game versus Buffalo with four and that's not counting the ones that connected in his second-period fight with Nicolas Deslauriers.
9. If you missed it I urge you all to try and watch Torrey Mitchell's goal celebration.
It was quite funny. Perhaps he was excited to finally snap Galchenyuk's run.
10. Very scary to see P.K. Subban go down like that.
It's like seeing Superman get hurt. He's been the symbol of strength and consistency.
Just a fluke play. Emelin caught him directly in the head and his neck took the shunt. You could see the concern in his teammate's faces, and you could hear the concern in the crowd.
Word is that he will be all right, thankfully.