1) Claude Julien wants his players to “have fun and feel good about themselves.”
This is a very refreshing statement. His pre-game comments were encouraging and showed he’s not just interested in the production, but the underlying factors that affect it.
2) First game after the bye week
Generally, teams take some time to get back into the swing of things. The Habs had only one practice prior to the game, and it was with a new coach. With more time they will become more comfortable with the new structure and systems.
And so now, the UPDATED list of teams crashing and burning out of the bye week. pic.twitter.com/XPYxb6DVER— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) February 18, 2017
3) Bob Cole was announcing.
Listening to Bob Cole was, as always, a treat.
4) Galchenyuk fit back into the first line’s offence like Cinderella’s foot in the slipper.
The Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Radulov line was reunited and flourished offensively. They played with the comfortable familiarity they had shown earlier in the season. The ability to find each others’ sticks paid off early as Galchenyuk’s set up and pass to Pacioretty earned them the assist on the games first goal.
5) The General strikes first.
Markov opened the scoring. As one of the two remaining Habs to have played under Julien in his first stint with Montreal, he stepped into his role under the new coach gracefully.
6) Carey Price is looking more like Carey Price.
Price made multiple saves early on, including several crowd-pleasing windmill saves. He, for one, seams to have benefited from the break.
7) Defensive issues still prominent.
The Habs still seem to be struggling in their end. The Galchenyuk line struggled defensively early on, probabbly leading to the centre’s shift to a lower line later in the game.
8) The shuffling of centres.
Galchenyuk was moved to the third line with Lehkonen and Shaw, as Danault returned to the top line. You got the impression Julien didn’t want to take Galchenyuk off his trio, but he decided a change was the best way to go for a win.
9) Power-play problems continue.
Montreal still struggles on getting the man advantage set up, yesterday even giving up a short-handed goal. However, there were also a few shifts where the team moved the puck well in the offensive zone, and maintained possession.
10) Some improvements were still visible.
Early on in the game Montreal showed improvements, including less reliance on dump-and-chase zone entries, though to their detriment as passes were missing their target or connecting with the ones in white jerseys. It’ll be exciting to see what the team looks like with a few more games and practices under their belts.