The Montreal Canadiens like a team that spent the flight to Edmonton reading about how great they are. While filling up on Grade AAA Alberta beef. Maybe they'll be hungry again in Calgary. The Edmonton Oilers skated to a 3-0 victory.
Habs played like a team that spent the flight to Edmonton reading about how great they are. While filling up on Grade AAA Alberta beef. Maybe they'll be hungry again in Calgary.
•Brendan Gallagher. Worked tirelessly as always.
•Brandon Prust. Outworked every Hab forward not named Gallagher. Made a beautiful play while killing an early penalty for the Habs first legit scoring chance but couldn't finish. Late in the game with the Habs pressing to get within one Prust made a perfect pass from behind the net to Lars Eller in the slot. Eller missed the net.
•Alex Galchenyuk. Looked like the only Habs player who could seriously threaten offensively. (On the other hand, on Edmonton's second goal it looked like he was coasting back from Calgary. And with Dustin Tokarski pulled for an extra attacker with 3:00 to play, Galchenyuk was stripped of the puck along the boards in the Edmonton zone. The puck eventually found Taylor Hall who topped it off at 3-0.)
•At least some of the games are still on RDS.
•Andrei Markov & Tomas Plekanec. Maybe it was the travel that caught up with two of the steadiest but oldest players on the team. On his first shift Markov was caught flat footed and took a hooking penalty. While killing the penalty Plekanec broke in on a two on one with Max Pacioretty but failed to connect with a pass. It was the third consecutive two on one breakout the Habs manufactured during the kill but only Prust managed a shot on goal. Markov and Plekanec got their signals crossed at the Edmonton blue line late in the first period which led to a two on one the other way and Benoit Pouliot was on the board for the first time this season. The Plekanec line plus Markov were a combined -10.
•Max Pacioretty. Looked like he had opened the scoring before referee Brad Watson ruled that Gallagher had made contact with Ben Scrivens. Very borderline call. Scrivens was knocked down alright but appeared to stay down on all fours waiting for the call. Other than that, Pacioretty was a non-factor.
•David Desharnais. Took two ridiculously bad penalties deep in Edmonton territory. The first one - a high stick on Andrew Ferrence right in front of Scrivens - took the Habs off of a power play.
•Power play. No sustained pressure. Difficult entries. It's just not happening. Managed just one shot on goal in three opportunities. Still looking for their first road power play goal of the season.
•P.K. Subban. Nothing in his bag of tricks. Several shots blocked. Took another penalty, as disputed as it was (tripping on Hall at the end of the first period). His 16 PIM in just 9 games is too much.
•Alexei Emelin. Dumb penalty just 48 seconds into the third period with Montreal down by two. Appeared to be settling a score with Matt Hendricks when he got called for roughing. That's something you do in the final minute of the third, not while the game is still up for grabs.
•P.A. Parenteau. 300th career game was eminently forgettable.
•Dale Weise. Maybe he thought he had that third line RW job all locked up. Played a game low 8:28.
•Face offs. First time this season Manny Malhotra was under 50% (42%). But he had company. Eller was worse (38%). Desharnais wasn't much better (47%). Plekanec was even. The Habs entered the game as the second best face off team in the league but were schooled by the Oilers (56%-44%). Boyd Gordon (excellent game) is a seasoned vet but even 19 year old Leon Draisaitl managed to dominate winning six of eight draws (75%).
•Benoit Pouliot. Just because.
•All things considered probably even worse than the 7-1 drubbing in Tampa Bay. That one came after a season opening four games in six days and 1700 miles. The Oilers are not very good. But the Habs played down to their level.
•Dallas Eakins. He actually referred to Pacioretty as "Pack-er-reddy". Kept waiting for Lars Eller to fire a puck into the Edmonton bench in an effort to break the Oilers' coach's hair.
Mitch Melnick is the host of Melnick in the Afternoon on TSN 690 - Montreal's Sports Authority. Mitch also has his own website at MitchMelnick.com where you can find his blog, music links, upcoming events, neat photos and more. Listen Live to Melnick - weekdays from 3:00 - 7:00 pm. If you have questions or wish to contact Mitch, you can email him at email@example.com