Thursday, 9 October 2014

Game Two: Habs @ Washington

You don't know what it's like.

After taking on their rivals in Toronto on opening night in the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens had to travel to Washington for the Capitals'
home opener tonight.

It should have been a tone setter for the Capitals. New coach, new system. Barry Trotz is the man to put the reigns on Alex Ovechkin.

When the first period was in the books, it looked like Washington was a transformed team (kind of like Toronto did last night.)

Montreal on the other hand was tired, emotionally drained and frustrated.

But old habits die hard and Capitals reassumed their selfish identity, while the Canadiens remained selfless.

Terrible penalties taking by both Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom

Same Capitals.

Eventually the game was tied in the third period and the Canadiens went on to pull out the 2-1 shootout victory because...

The best players on the ice were Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuck and Dustin Tokarski.

Give the kid credit in net. Made huge saves when they needed him. When the rest of the team was sleeping he looked rested (because he was). Tokarski made 29 saves, plus several key stops in the shootout, including Ovechkin.

Maybe it's the assumed added responsibility of being named an alternate captain. Perhaps it's the new offensively gifted linemates (although the right side has fluctuated in the first two games.) Or maybe he's always this damn good. Plekanec has gotten this season off on the right foot. And even though I don't like putting numbers on the lines, if Plekanec continues at this rate, he is a "true number one."

Galchenyuck has been flying. This is the most comfortable he's ever looked in the NHL. This is the biggest role and most ice time he's received. Galchenyuck has arrived and I sense for the fans, that the excitement and anticipation is building for what this kid will eventually become.

Have to say, also impressive in his own way was Lars Eller. Not that it showed up on the scorecard but he was feisty. Playing in that third line spot, he needs to mix it up and he did. John Carlson was running around and taking liberties after this whistle. A glove to the face and visor is great to see from Eller as long as he ensures that the opposing player is going off with a penalty as well.

Unfortunately Travis Moen is now in a winless situation. To stay in the lineup everyone expects him to "do something." But with that mindset for this player, it's an ineffective approach.

Got to give the Habs praise. Playing on back to back nights in two different buildings isn't easy. In fact, the Flyers and Bruins both lost tonight dealing with back to back (Calgary is currently in action with Edmonton)

With the 0-2 start, the Flyers will be a handful for the Habs Saturday night in Philadelphia.

- Mitchy

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