1. The Habs had an extremely good, albeit lucky opening 20 minutes
Right from the beginning, the new look Canadiens seemed to own the flow of play against Columbus, who seemed determined to hit them into dust. An extended 6 on 5 delayed penalty saw them take control for an extended period, and the currently red hot Max Pacioretty was a massive puck hound to close out the period. That being said, the Blue Jackets hit multiple posts, including Brandon Saad’s shorthanded attempt, making it very fortunate period as well for the Habs.
2. Good early impressions from Jordie Benn
The story on Jordie Benn from fans in Dallas is that he’s a steady, not overly flashy defender. Playing on the first penalty kill unit alongside Shea Weber, the big bearded blueliner was exactly that for the Habs. A smart stick along the boards, and good plays to move the puck out of the zone is exactly what Habs fans should want out of a third pairing defenceman.
3. Stop making Radulov mad
Seriously why have teams not realized this is a bad idea yet? Jack Johnson gave Radulov a rough ride into the boards in the second period, and it turned the Russian into a monster. For the rest of his shift he was all over every loose puck and every battle in the offensive zone. Making a talented player like that made is an extremely unwise strategy folks.
4. There were no passengers tonight
Tonight’s game was a massive test for this Habs team heading into the trade deadline. And for the first time in a long time, there were no passengers on the ice tonight. Every line, and every pairing made an impact. While the top six grabs the headlines for their work in overtime, every single player played their heart out on the ice tonight for that victory.
5. Goalie duels are fun!
It might have been a 1-0 game, but holy cow were Price and Bobrovsky in the zone tonight from the outset. Montreal threw their best at the net all game and the Russian netminder made plenty of highlight reel saves. While at the opposite end of the ice, the Canadiens netminder was calm, cool and collected as he turned in another flawless performance.
6. The Blue Jackets need to calm down
From the opening minute, it was clear the Blue Jackets were here to make Montreal’s life miserable. Which is fine, you can hit all you want, but slew footing Carey Price is a clownshoes move by Scott Hartnell, who is lucky no one on the ice noticed it. Boone Jenner was constantly slashing and hacking Habs players and sooner or later someone needs to lay down the law. But when your coach is known for his tirades and outbursts (which happened again), I guess it ingrains itself in your team culture.
7. Intent to blow is awful
That was a goal and literally everyone knew it. I understand why it’s a rule, but man is it just terrible, thankfully it didn’t end up costing the Habs a point in this game.
8. They deserved that win
As stated above tonight was a total team effort across the board, something becoming very frequent under Claude Julien these days. I know the term “character” makes most fans cringe these days, but yesterday and today were two character wins. You have shakeups happening just before and during games, and you’ve got a set of back to back games, including a top conference contender. To come out of that with four points and a shut out over a top team is a well deserved achievement. The results are starting to catch up to the process, and it couldn’t be happening at a better time.
9. Farewell to a long time teammate.
No, David Desharnais was not the most popular player in Montreal by the end of his tenure. He was however a loyal player during his time in Montreal, where he went from an unknown in the ECHL, to being a star alongside Max Pacioretty in the biggest hockey market in the world. Hopefully Edmonton treats him well, and let’s not trash a player on their way out, but remember he brought plenty of good memories to this club as well.
10. Bring on the deadline
It’s time for the insanity, Marc Bergevin has already begun addressing the weaknesses on defence and has cleared out some cap space for a large move. Whether it’s Patrick Sharp, Matt Duchene, or some unknown player, the team is rolling and I have faith the next addition will only keep that momentum rolling forward.