Forward lines and defense pairings
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Kotkaniemi – Armia
Byron – Domi – Lehkonen
Hudon – Peca – Shaw
Mete – Petry
Reilly – Juulsen
Benn – Ouellet
Alzner, Scherbak, Plekanec
Weber, Schlemko, De la Rose, Deslauriers
Following the game, the consensus on social media was that Habs fans would take 81 more of those games. That’s fair, and would lead to an 82-point season, a jump of 11 points over last season. But the Canadiens would still sitting on the sidelines when the playoffs begin.
The fanbase gave Montreal high marks for their speed, their play and staying with the Leafs on the road for three periods.
That’s all fine and well. But let’s excuse fans for being a tad overzealous. It is a function of the bottom of the barrel feeling at the end of last season and the moderate expectations for the Club this year.
Truth be told, Canadiens – Leafs games always are supercharged with energy particularly a season opener. So it’s probably too early to make forecasts based on one contest that could be an anomaly.
One thing is clear: the Leafs have a lot of weapons that can be unleashed at any time. And tonight when the Canadiens defence was breaking down, it was Carey Price who was once again called upon to save the day.
It is also fair to say that the Canadiens are not going to win many games this year when key players are giving a half-assed effort. Jonathan Drouin showed little interest in the game when he was without the puck. And it was Drouin’s giveaway and lazy line change that led to the Leafs winning goal.
That’s not a guarantee but a rather bold statement from the Habs head coach with one pre-season game left on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
On the positive side. Jesperi Kotkaniemi once again did not look out of place, other than at the faceoff dot. Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen were the Canadiens best forwards. Domi showed no effect of serving his five-game pre-season suspension. And Price, while the less busy goaltender, was called upon to make the more difficult saves.
▲ Carey Price, Artturi Lehkonen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Max Domi
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Matthew Peca, Jordie Benn, Xavier Ouellet, Charles Hudon