John Kenny/The Gazette
“Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out. Who’d of thought they’d lead you. Back here where we need you”
– John Sebastian, “Welcome Back”
The Habs faithful gave a big “welcome back” Saturday night to the new look Montreal Canadiens and an extra cheer for their new “old” coach Michel Therrien.
The Passing of the Torch
The Canadiens brass started things off right with a free beer (Molson perhaps?) to anyone over eighteen, and a spectacular “passing of the torch” ceremony. From former Canadiens captains Yvon Cournoyer to Henri Richard to Vinny Damphousse to Serge Savard to Jean Beliveau and finally to the Habs current captain, Brian Gionta at centre ice. The torch was then handed off to each of the Canadiens as they were introduced to the crowd. Big hands went out for newcomers Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong and the Habs super-rookie Alex Galchenyuk, whose speed, shot and work ethic, earned him a spot on the team. Also earning extra special accolades from the fans were Carey Price, Josh Georges and the return of Andrei Markov, who spent the most of the last two seasons rehabbing his bad knees.
Then the game started. Unfortunately for the Habs, the referees weren’t in game shape and made some questionable calls early in the game, setting the Habs, and the fans, back on their heels. Less than a minute into the game, as the Habs sent out their energy line of Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong and Ryan White, Prust scored his first goal as a Hab, sort of. The refs, of course, saw it differently and called the goal off. To make matters worse, they sent the Habs Ryan White off for two minutes for goaltender interference, falling for Ben Scrivens Oscar performance. No sooner was the White penalty over when they sent Eric Cole off for another two minutes. This time the Leafs managed to score on bad angle power play goal by Nazem Kadri, the only mistake Habs goalie Carey Price made on the night. The penalties and the Leafs goal seemed to take the crowd out of it so Brandon Prust decided to try and liven things up by taking on the Leafs tough guy Mike Brown. Prust managed to get Brown’s sweater over his head and deliver a couple of good right hands to Brown’s head. Decision to Prust.
In the second period, the refs were certainly looking out for the Leafs netminder as Tomas Plekanec was sent off for two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. Seems he stopped himself from running over Scrivens but sprayed some snow on him. Oh no! The Leafs Tyler Bozak then scored their second power play goal of the night on a good shot Price had no chance on.
The Canadiens had a better third period, and pulled to within one on a power play goal by captain Brian Gionta, banging it home on a scramble in front of Scrivens. But it was, as they say, too little, too late and the Leafs spoiled the Habs home opener winning 2 – 1.
Brian Gionta summed it up, “It’s the first one under our belt, but I think the biggest thing is we were too spread out, we weren’t supporting the puck carrier, the battles in the corner, we made it too easy for them.”
P.K. Still Unsigned
It’s certainly too early to panic, but in a 48 game schedule every game is extremely important, especially one against a division opponent. This just to say how imperative it is to get P.K. Subban signed as soon as possible, and get him back in the lineup.
The Habs next game is against Florida at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.