Who are these guys?
And what have they done with the early-season Montreal Canadiens?
In wins over the Rangers on Saturday and Ottawa Monday night, the Canadiens scored 13 goals – equalling their total through the first eight games of 2017-’18.
Despite falling behind 1-0 on Tom Pyatt’s goal 21 seconds into the game, the Canadiens rallied to chase Craig Anderson and rout the home team.
How bad were the Senators?
Erik Karlsson finished the game minus-6. And the perennial Norris Trophy candidate had a grand total of ZERO shots on Al Montoya.
While the home-ice Senators were sucking, the Canadiens got balanced excellence from all four forward lines.
Thirteen Canadiens – including Montoya – made the scoresheet.
Charles Hudon, finally cracking his NHL nut, and the indefatigable Artturi Lehkonen each scored twice.
Alex Galchenyuk played less than 11 minutes … and scored again.
Shea Weber had three assists and finished the game plus-4.
Big Mike McCarron had four hits.
And when the game was still a game, the surprise starter made big stops.
The ludicrous final score notwithstanding, the Canadiens did not play a perfect game. Pucks in the Canadiens’ zone continue to be an adventure, and a better team than Ottawa might have taken greater advantage of the jitters we saw from the Canadiens’ D core.
The rest of the road trip – Minnesota Thursday night, then a Winnipeg-Chicago back-to-back on the weekend – presents greater challenges than the Senators were able to muster in their own barn.
On L’Antichambre, Gaston Therrien said the Canadiens continue to give attacking opponents too many good looks. This will have to be tightened up as the season progresses, and some might argue that the current D corps is substandard.
There were encouraging signs. Victor Mete bounced back with a solid game after a couple of tough outings. Jeff Petry had four hits and continued to bounce back from a subpar start to his season.
I’m not sold on the Karl Alzner-Jordie Benn pairing. With about $9 million to spend, general manager Marc Bergevin has to think about shoring up his back end.
Through the wretched start of the Canadiens’ season, it looked like Bergevin had to go shopping for a forward.
The last two games suggest that might not be a problem … especially if Galchenyuk continues to play his way off the fourth line.
Two Ws in a row, peeps.
Pick out your spots for the parade.