- For 330 days, we've waited for this moment, and now it's arrived. Hello, Carey Price.
- Keep an eye on Sergachev's time tonight - he didn't play 10 minutes against the Pens. That's not enough. If this time is part of his learning experience, then play him. Otherwise, send him down to get decent time, if even in the minors.
- Slow start for the Habs, Arizona looks to be the faster team - Galchenyuk line looks good early, though.
- Ryan White mucking it up, which is par for his course. Never thought he got a fair shake in Montreal - even today he'd be an upgrade over the guy he was agitating, Torrey Mitchell (or Brian Flynn, for that matter).
- Radulov was brought in for his scoring ability, but he's arguably an even better playmaker, based on the excellent shifts we've seen this season.
- Habs powerplay getting closer, but still just not quite clicking. Perhaps too focused on pretty plays, this unit would be better served to just get a greasy one in, and build from there.
- Emelin shows Weber how it's done with a goal from a point shot, his first in nearly two years. 1-0.
- Since about the 5 minute mark, Habs have dominated puck possession - also doing line matching in an attempt to mitigate the Hanzal line (so far, so good).
- Solid period of hockey for the Canadiens, adjusted CF over 60%. Petry and Beaulieu with a particularly strong period - same could be said for the Desharnais line (yes, believe it or not) for the second consecutive game. Coyotes had a fast, aggressive start to the period, but seemed to get stuck on 2nd gear by some good line matching by the Habs, and pretty good zone coverage. Price didn't face more than one difficult shot the whole period.
- Adjusted CF (5v5) in the period, favouring the Habs 61.8%.
- Sergachev got just 3:43 of ice time in the period, which as expected, is the least among blue liners, but less then I'd like him to receive. If Habs are able to pad their lead, there's no good rationale from keeping him from getting anything less than 12 minutes.
- Galchenyuk with a totally unnecessary high stick in his own zone to kill the Habs powerplay just as it started.
- Coyotes guilty of some pretty lazy zone coverage, as Beaulieu carries the puck in, and makes a beautiful pass on the tap of Torrey Mitchell's stick, a one timer blast that puts the Habs up 2-0. Arizona is a young team, full of potential but more apt to make those kind of preventable mistakes.
- Ryan White, who I complemented just 30 minutes ago, tries to troll the Galchenyuk line into take retaliatory penalties. Ends up getting 4 minutes, and luring only Emelin into the box. That's not what he's supposed to do.
- And finally it happens. Off the White penalty, the Habs and Shea Weber finally strike, with Markov setting him up for an absolute howitzer that Domingue can only wave at. 3-0.
- Habs have padded their lead. Now would be a good time to loosen the reigns on Sergachev's shift restrictions.
- Galchenyuk dances in, 35 wrister than Domingue must stop, and it's 4-0 Habs. Justin Peters now in goal for Arizona. Habs can pretty much cruise home from here.
- Hrm .. Sergachev with an unforced error, giving the puck away behind his net placing the puck right in the slot, and following a mad scramble, Chychrun scores his first NHL goal. 4-1. That play, of course, won't help the case for giving the young Habs defenseman more ice time, alas.
- Great shift by the Mitchell line, not only hemming the Coyotes in their zone, but able to do an entire line shift without surrendering the zone. That's hockey at another level of excellence.
- Sloppy, sloppy d-zone puck control - with Beaulieu coughing up the puck in front of Price, and Dauphin tucking in a rebound. That seemingly unassailable Habs lead isn't so safe any more, it's 4-2.
- Habs had this game pretty much salted away, and then started getting lazy, making unforced mistakes deep in their own zone - there's still no good reason for Montreal not to win this game relatively easily, but with Price working off some rust, the Canadiens will need to be a little more aware in the 3rd if they want to make sure they get 2 points. Another excellent period for the Galchenyuk line, while Radulov continues to impress. Easily the best game the Habs have played this season - at least the first two periods.
- Habs and Coyotes after 2 periods, with Habs CF (5v5) at 58.6%
- Not sure what Radulov has more of - strength or speed, but whatever it is, together they give opposing defensemen fits.
- Credit to Peters for at least keeping his team in this game - it really ought be a three or four goal lead for the Habs right now.
- Habs certainly more aware first half of this period than they were last half of the 2nd - being cautious in their own zone, but not turtling their way through the period, either. Pretty good balance. 11 minutes left.
- Habs for sure salt this game away, Lehkonen with a wrister off a nice pass from behind the net from Plekanec to make it 5-2. As we mentioned, Habs have had a nice blend of playing cautiously in their own zone, but not so much as to stunt their offence. Very impressive display tonight all around.
- Relatively uneventful 3rd period, which is all the Habs wanted and needed - an impressive win tonight, with many fine performances, including Galchenyuk, Radulov, Petry, Plekanec, Desharnais, Pacioretty and Markov (among others). Price was fine too, even though he wasn't really tested often - which is exactly what the Canadiens would have wanted - a straightforward game to ease Carey into the regular season. Habs get a well-earned day off tomorrow, after a couple of solid wins to open their season at home.
Hey everyone, we have some news for you:
Carey Price - starting tonight against the Coyotes. It's official.— A.J. Bassett (@HabsGameBlog) October 20, 2016
GAMEDAY NEWS 'n' NOTES:
Lines, lines. We got lines:
Mikhail Sergachev, he who was benched for a good portion of the 2nd and 3rd periods during Tuesday night's win over the Pens, thereby raising speculation that he'd be returned to riding the busses this week, is back in the lineup tonight.
Meanwhile, on the other side:
That's a pretty decent Arizona lineup. More about them in a bit.