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Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs 5 Takeaways: Overtime woes

  1. The drama surrounding Alex Galchenyuk needs to stop

Alex Galchenyuk has been singled out for struggling so far this season and there are many questions surrounding the youngster and his quality of play. Galchenyuk started the game on the fourth line alongside Jacob de la Rose and Ales Hemsky. Galchenyuk saw some time on the top line, as well as on the power play, resulting in his first goal and the Habs’ first power play goal of the season.

During the first intermission, captain Max Pacioretty had some encouraging words.

There obviously has been a lot of talk around Galchenyuk…but he made a great play there and gave us some life…he can make the difference for us.

I just don’t think it’s time to worry about Galchenyuk.  He communicates on the ice, he is invested, and I have no doubt we will see a revitalized Galchenyuk in the games to come. Like the rest of the Canadiens the problem is not effort or getting chances on the net. It’s that they aren’t going in.

2. The Canadiens’ have one decent defensive pairing

Don’t get me wrong, there are glimpses of brilliance from most of the defence and I was incredibly impressed with Brandon Davidson who showed a confidence that I was not expecting. That being said, I don’t think it’s hard to argue that the Victor Mete-Shea Weber duo is the only pairing I have confidence in.

Jeff Petry, despite a goal tonight, has remained very ‘on’ and ‘off’ this season. One minute he struggles to maintain and gain position and the next he attacks with his usual confidence. He has also had lapses in his own zone. Now that being said, a good friend argued – and I hate to admit he may be right – that Petry has been paired with Karl Alzner who has also shown inconsistencies in his game.

Frankly, Jordie Benn has been downright awful. That’s all I will say on that matter. With David Schlemko’s debut imminent, it may just be Benn who he will be replacing.

3. Some improvement on special teams

The Canadiens’ finally removed that goose egg from their PP%. Last game, we saw Galchenyuk earn some power play time and that continued into this game. Galchenyuk was rewarded with his first goal of the season, courtesy of a nifty, little pass by Charles Hudon as he was taken out.

Though this was the only power play goal of the night for Montreal, they looked more dangerous than they have been and showed a little more strategic thinking rather than trying to make the perfect pass.

4. Carey Price seems… off

Again, I recognize that we are a few games into the season and Price doesn’t have the best defence in front of him. But Price let in two soft goals to start the game, both unassisted and only about 45 seconds apart. The first was directly off of a face off, while the second, I argue, is largely on Benn.

The multi-cam view actually showed Price take a deep breath before the face off after James van Riemsdyk’s goal. Price had a save percentage of .818 (18/22) on the night and currently sits at .885 on the season. Those numbers are both very un-Price like.

The good news is we all know how cool, calm, collected and, most importantly, great Price is and while there is obviously room for improvement there is no reason to believe things won’t turn around. Hopefully things turn around quickly.

Price also does seems to be putting some of the blame on his shoulders.

5. The kids continue to amaze

Both Hudon and Victor Mete continue to prove their worth. Hudon had four shots on goal and you just know that he won’t be kept off of the board much longer. His first career goal is coming. Mete played nearly 22 minutes during regular time, which is pretty big praise for the 19-year old.

It’s beginning to look more and more like Mete will be in Montreal to stay as it’s hard to see anyone who could play the minutes he is playing as well as he is playing them. At this point, he’s not here for the experience. He’s here because he legitimately makes the team better.

All in all, it was another loss with more positives than negatives. Unfortunately the losses continue to pile up, but there are a lot of games left. Onto the next one.

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