- – The Habs got off to a terrific start with a quick 10-2 advantage in shots and a 1-0 lead on a quick shot from Tomas Plekanec. The line with Charles Hudon and Artturi Lehkonen continues to be the best on the team. Lehkonen through out the game with superb puck battling skills.
- – I liked a lot of players game in this one, but they didn’t get results. Mitchell worked hard. Alzner was steady. Danault and Byron killed well at moments. Davidson looks much better than the pre-season. However, they didn’t get results and no one is getting results, so there’s not a lot to like in individuals playing well without results.
- – Lehkonen looked very good on the power play in the third. That puck battling compete made a difference. However, why they took off Galchenyuk and left Hemsky on is a complete mystery. I touched the puck as much as Hemsky on the power play against the Hawks.
- – The fan base wanted to take the boots to Benn and Mete on the two Hawks goals in the first period, but these were neutral zone turnovers. This is a recipe for losing hockey, because too much pressure is put on the defence. Benn has it on the first one and it hits the linesman. However, after that – where is everybody? Where did the forwards go? The same issue on the second goal as Weber and Mete are back, but when the puck takes an odd bounce another second and a half has expired and all of the forwards are still nowhere to be seen. Pat Burns used to say neutral zone turnovers were how to quickly lose hockey games. Neutral zone mistakes where the forwards are looking like giant ships trying to turn around is always going to make the defenceman look bad. A little help is what is required. Five players defending and five players attacking is what is required.
- – Jordie Benn. Jeff Petry. These two are better than this. They’ll have to show it real soon. Benn’s pass selections are indicative of a player who the game is moving too fast for, or of a player who has lost a lot of confidence.
- – The Habs 5 on 3 power play was a key moment in the game and it’s hard to understand the thinking as both Galchenyuk and Pacioretty passed it back and forth six times behind the net. It didn’t move the defenders a lick. Finally when the Habs did get it out front, the only shooting option was Weber, which the Hawks were certainly ready for.
- – Win the middle, win the game. I’ve said it since I was very young, but unless they put the net in the corner one day centers are more valuable than wingers. We are early here, but if Drouin can’t ignite offence in the middle as the creator then the Habs are in trouble. As I said, it’s early and he needs more than four games. However, it sure would be good for him if others were scoring while he goes through his education process. This learning process is completely natural but he may be cut short on this experiment if the club can’t score and it’s been a tough go so far without question.
- – The coaching staff has to wake up on the power play. Drouin is making superb passes through the seam but to the wrong guy. Galchenyuk needs to be that one timer. He has the best slap shot from there: accurate and fast. Pacioretty should be the one in the high slot and travelling around looking for options. Drouin is doing his part there. A lot of passes are making it through. At one point in the second, Galchenyuk was in the seam for the right side one timer, and Crawford had to make a great save. The power play is 0 for 15 to start the season.
- – Galchenyuk worked very hard on the back check and had a lot of care. Not a horse or a goat but at least a strong attitude. That’s always a good sign going forward.
- – This is going to be hard to alter now. The momentum is established and it’s not pretty. Sports is confidence and momentum. It can be a snowball down the hill that gets bigger and bigger. Toronto comes in Saturday and then the team heads west where they’ve often struggled. We shall see, but this isn’t a good look for a while here with the club having scored only 4 goals in 4 games and only two even strength goals. It will get better, of course. . . but the hole might have some depth at that moment.
- – The shooting percentage remains at around 2.7, which anyone knows is impossible in the long run. The Habs could bring up Laval and they’d finish the season at 5 percent. This won’t continue. The goals will come. This issue right now is not defence. People want to hit that narrative but they have 4 goals in 4 games and 2 goals 5 on 5. That is the issue. Many fans saying it’s been that way for years. For years they have been 15th with an 8.5 shooting percentage. This is 31st with a 2.5. It has not been this and it will not continue to be this.