Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Byron – Mitchell – Hemsky
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Davidson – Benn
Joe Morrow, Jacob De La Rose, Mark Streit
David Schlemko (hand)
It was the home opener. Every seat in the arena was filled with passionate jersey-clad fans, including a standing room crowd of 600.
The opening ceremony hit all the right chords, overflowing with energy, emotion and class.
And the home team scored four goals in the first 11 minutes of the game, cruising to a convincing win.
Let me introduce you to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights won their third game of the season becoming the first expansion team to start 3-0-0. Their building was packed and their inclusion of survivors, first responders and Deryk Engelland in the ceremonies was superb.
By contrast, the Montreal Canadiens scored their fourth goal of the entire season tonight just 1:15 into the game. This was cheered by a less than full Bell Centre and followed a rather underwhelming opening ceremonies.
This is certainly the bizarro NHL where everything is upside down.
The world will right itself soon, won’t it? Because the pre-season didn’t matter, and the players are learning a new system and the defense is much better than last year and…
Or maybe all of the above are just silly excuses, or more plainly, a load of hogwash.
When the off-season began, Marc Bergevin had one glaring hole in his roster: a legitimate number one centre. And after his trades, signings and promotions, Bergevin now has two glaring issues.
While he has claimed otherwise, Bergevin’s interventions are primarily a combination of chicken wire, masking tape and bubble gum. And he brought in a guy with a cape who was certain to appeal to the emotions of the locals. In four games, that ‘superman’ has precisely one assist, is a feature of the league’s worst power-play and is worst among Habs forwards at minus-3.
But trades are hard.
Until you look at the other end of the rink. Who are these Hawks with names like Forsling, Rutta, Kempny, Hayden, Hartman, Kero and DeBrincat?
The last name should be known to Habs fans. Alex DeBrincat had 65 goals, 62 assists for 127 points last season with the Erie Otters. The 19-year-old scored his first career NHL goal tonight to go along with two assists in four games this season.
DeBrincat was selected in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Blackhawks using one of two picks acquired from the Canadiens in the trade that brought Andrew Shaw to Montreal. Shaw has no points in four games this season.
With one of the top GM’s in the league and excellent coaching, the Blackhawks have put together a roster that may include unfamiliar names but one that has seven points in the first four games. The Canadiens have two.
For the analytics folks the shot attempts have looked good.
Claude Julien says that the number of Grade-A scoring chances are looking good.
And commentators have said that the puck movement on the power-play looks really good.
Bravo to the Canadiens for the style points. But in goal scoring and in wins, this team is missing the mark.
▲ Artturi Lehkonen, Carey Price, Shea Weber
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Jeff Petry, Karl Alzner, Alex Galchenyuk