Ten Takeaways: Man Mountain leads Habs to a dominant victory

The Habs put together a solid three period effort and came away with another win.

Stop worrying about Galcheyuk’s faceoffs

Since taking over the top centre spot to start this year, one of the biggest narratives circling around this Habs team is Alex Galchenyuk and his difficulty winning faceoffs. Which to be fully honest is one of the least important thing to be worried about at this stage of the season. Faceoffs have a negligible impact on possession numbers, and the Habs first line is still generating scoring chances with ease.

Each line is capable in the offensive end

It’s been mentioned several times before this year, but even by the end of the first period it was highly apparent that each line is capable of creating scoring chances. Paul Byron and Alex Radulov stood out, creating multiple chances on fantastic individual efforts in the opening frame. And unlike last December, these chances are bearing fruit for the Habs and it shows on the scoreboard.

All Hail Lord Byron

Last year’s waiver wire darling continues to pay massive dividends for Montreal. The diminutive speedster tallied his second goal of the year after being promoted to play alongside Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. While this paid off immediately, last season’s larger sample showed that putting Byron in a top six role ended up hurting the team in the long run. Though with Michel Therrien this season an in-game adjustment doesn’t appear to be anything more than that right now.

Someone please remove the curse from Tomas Plekanec

I’m not sure what is going on with the long time Habs centre, but as of now he cannot buy a goal if he tried. It’s not that he isn’t creating chances, because he is, and his linemates Radulov and Lehkonen are giving him all sorts of great looks. Much like Pacioretty years ago, maybe Plekanec just needs that one flukey goal to get going, and the sooner the better for Montreal.

Beaulieu had a rebound night

After being taken off his pairing with Shea Weber, Beaulieu was moved to the third pairing with Greg Pateryn and the duo struggled. Tonight in Brooklyn the young defenseman posted 78% CF. While the Habs were the far more dominant team tonight, it’s good to see that Beaulieu has shaken off a few sub par games and is playing like the guy we saw in the preseason.

All about Al

In previous years when Carey Price wasn’t scheduled to start Habs fans typically held their breath. This season fans are able to exhale, and that is due to the outstanding play of Al Montoya in relief of Price. The veteran netminder is calm and composed in the net, even when making big saves. While it’s likely his numbers will slide a bit, there isn’t any reason to worry when the Big Cubano takes over the net for a game.

Shea Paree

Count me as fully on the Man Mountain hype train, when he gets the puck on the power play I always expect to see the net move, and see the red light come on.  Weber continued his point streak and helped the Habs remain undefeated in regulation, I can’t find something worth nitpicking with that result.

A deserved win

This season has been marked by Montreal slowly improving in each game they’ve played. Tonight they put on their most dominant performance of the season so far, even if the score was closer than other games. The second period was so lopsided it was like the Islanders never left the dressing room after the first period. The Isles are likely a playoff team, so a performance like that shows the Habs can hang with anyone right now. The Habs controlled the scoring chances last night, dominating the category by a count of 18-5 during 5 vs. 5 play.

Ice Ice Baby

I get that New York is a big hockey market, but the ice conditions at the Barclays Center are unacceptable and it showed tonight. Pucks were bouncing all over and it looked like players were skating in slush. It’s not an excuse for missed chances, but when multiple teams, including the Islanders mention it something has to be done.

Big Test against Tampa

The Habs have played a mixed bag of opponents to start the year, they face their stiffest test tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa is a team that matches Montreal in terms of depth at forward and on defense, plus they likely have the best goalie the Habs have seen so far this year in Ben Bishop. If Montreal can pull off another good performance and notch another win, they should be well on their way to solidifying their position as a contender.

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