Reimer stymies Montreal
Whitby - Oct. 7, 2011 - Montreal Canadiens’ fans, bury your collective heads. What an embarrassing performance displayed by Les Bleu-Blanc-Rouge last night at the ACC. Toronto Maple Leafs’ netminder James Reimer stopped all 32 shots in registering his first shutout of the 2011-12 NHL season.
Here is my breakdown of last night’s season opener between Montreal and Toronto - a yawner for Habs fans for sure:
7:25pm: A nice touch to open up the 2011-12 NHL season in Toronto. No high profile anthem singer to sing the National Anthem; rather, the crowded ACC contingent did themselves and Canada proud by belting out “O Canada” while passing a massive Canadian flag around the ACC - very patriotic!
7:31pm: Scott Gomez wins the opening faceoff over Mikhail Grabovski to start the game. Rookie Leaf Matt Frattin starts on the opening line with Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin.
7:33pm: Montreal’s first shot on Reimer with less than two minutes gone in the first period.
7:47pm: Halfway through the first period - not much to write home about. The game is helter skelter to this point. Toronto giveaways are the talk of the first ten minutes of the opening period.
7:57pm: Leafs’ defenseman John Michael Liles takes the first penalty of the game for cross checking. Montreal’s first power play unit: Cammalleri-Plekanec-Kostitsyn-Subban-Desharnais. Montreal’s second power play unit: Pacioretty-Gomez-Gionta-Campoli-Diaz. Montreal fails to register a goal.
8:03pm: Leafs’ defenseman Luke Schenn takes a boarding penalty at 19:29 on Habs’ forward Andreas Engqvist. First period ends with Montreal leading in the shot department, 13 - 4. Montreal led the period, taking the offensive chances to Toronto by a wide margin.
8:09pm: The first installment of Coach’s Corner has Don Cherry admitting that was “the worst period of all time”.
8:23pm: Second period opens with Leafs’ forward Matt Lombardi registering a short-handed goal on a prone Carey Price early in the first minute. This is Lombardi’s first goal in over a year.
8:31pm: At the 6:47 minute mark, Habs defenseman Josh Gorges takes a high sticking penalty on David Steckel. Toronto is taking it to Montreal so far in the second period. Montreal’s first penalty kill unit: Plekanec-Cammalleri-Subban-Gill. Montreal’s second penalty killing squad: Gionta-Engqvist-Spacek-Diaz.
8:38pm: At the 9:18 minute mark, Leafs’ forward Tyler Bozak bolls over Spacek and Price. Montreal rewarded with another power play opportunity.
8:40pm: 10:50 minute mark, first bit of animosity displayed by either team: Leafs’ defenseman Mike Komisarek forearms the much smaller Gionta. Scrum ensues with Gomez defending Gionta’s honour, going after Luke Schenn. No penalties for either club. Gionta and Gomez both dwarfed by Schenn and Komisarek.
8:45pm: Newly acquired Habs’ defenseman Chris Campoli assisted to Canadiens’ dressing room with an apparent lower body injury near the 14 minute mark of period two. Campoli had 11:03 minutes of ice time before his injury. Yannick Weber drops back on defense to take his place.
8:57pm: Thank goodness, this dreadful game is almost complete. Second period ends with Toronto now taking it to the Habs in fine fashion. (It pains me to write this).
9:14pm: At 4:42 of the third period, Leafs’ captain Dion Phaneuf scores on a rocket of a shot at the point over Price’s left shoulder and off the cross bar to give Toronto a commanding 2-0 lead. Subban coughed up the puck coming out of Montreal’s defensive zone that lead to Phaneuf’s boomer. Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel assisted.
9:16pm: 5:42 minute mark, Toronto penalty to Colby Armstrong as he toppled over Price. Montreal’s forward power play unit - Desharnais-Cammalleri-Darche. No Cole, no Pacioretty, no sizeable forward to screen Reimer. Very disappointing.
9:21pm: Habs’ power forward Erik Cole finally promoted to Montreal’s first line with Cammalleri and Plekanec. Cole had begun the game on Montreal’s third line. Toronto has been the more physical of the two teams and has displayed more energy since the first period.
9:31pm: Montreal looks unmotivated and dwarfed by a larger and more imposing Toronto team.
9:34pm: 15:25 minute mark of the third period and still no urgency shown in Montreal’s game. Kudos to Scott Gomez however, he seems to be skating hard tonight making more of an effort than what Habs’ fans are used to seeing last season.
9:37pm: Has Leafs’ newly acquired centerman David Steckel lost a face off yet tonight? Montreal has no forecheck. Steckel is 18 for 24 in winning faceoffs to this point.
9:40pm: At the 18:25 minute mark, Price is pulled in favour of Desharnais as the extra attacker. It makes no difference.
9:44pm: The Canadiens - Leafs matchup mercifully ends with a 2 - 0 convincing Toronto win. Three stars of the game: Leafs’ forward Matthew Lombardi (3rd star - 1 goal), Leafs’ defenseman Dion Phaneuf (2nd star - 1 goal, 1 assist) and Leafs’ goaltender, James Reimer (1st star - shutout).
Game Stats Review
Tomas Plekanec led the Habs with 23:30 minutes of ice time. He also won 14-of-24 faceoffs (.583 winning percentage)
David Desharnais won only 4-of-15 faceoffs (.267)
Scott Gomez won 8-of-14 faceoffs (.571)
Josh Gorges led the team in blocked shots (3)
P.K. Subban was a minus-2 for the contest
Cammalleri, Kostitsyn, Pacioretty and Plekanec led the Canadiens with four shots each on Reimer
Netminder Carey Price stopped 16-of-18 shots (.889 save percentage)
Announced attendance was 19,606 at the ACC.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…
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