Wilde Horses

  • The goal scorer who opens up the season is automatically a horse and it’s appropriate that the hardest worker gets it done. Brendan Gallagher admittedly took advantage of some shoddy tending on his wrist shot but he found the spot that worked to make it 1-0. Gallagher did it again in the third period with the deflection of a Shea Weber shot. He was in the right place to take advantage, just getting to the net where good things happen.
  • Andrew Shaw doing exactly as advertised. Midway through the first, Shaw goes into the corner, gets under his opponent's skin and draws a penalty. Bergevin wanted the Habs to not be such a soft touch. That comes in many forms. Shaw in the third period was the final touch on the fourth goal as both he and Daniel Carr were too difficult and hungry to handle.
  • Al Montoya was another player brought in to fill an obvious hole from last year. Montoya is a "real" back up with a good track record. His save on an Evander Kane breakaway early was a key moment. Shorthanded goals can kill a club and Montoya shone on that play. The entire night Montoya was strong;  as the game went on you could sense the players got more confident that it wasn't going to be an adventure back there.
  • Nathan Beaulieu did great work taking care of zone exits. Weber gets the credit for taking care of the physical business but someone also has to get the puck out. Beaulieu and Weber complement each other's skill set so well. 
  • The fourth line was strong all camp and it may be one of the best fourth lines in the league. On the second goal, they showed how tough they can be to defend against. Byron brings all that speed and then Mitchell drives to the net. Mitchell was one of the strongest forwards at camp.
  • Greg Pateryn. Steady. Safe. (As an aside, two or three words is the normal length of a good Pateryn game assessment. Just quietly does his thing.) I don't think he's going to play games in the minors anymore.
  • Emelin with a courageous game. He was working his butt off. One penalty kill in particular, Emelin made a couple of very difficult shot blocks where he was so far from the shooter it took tremendous courage. Some games, sometimes, it's about the commitment. That's the leadership for others to follow.
  • Lehkonen might be someone who, at the NHL level, has a feel for the net and can find the dead zones. He seems to get glorious chances every game. In the third period it was hard to believe he didn't score on one shift where he was presented with two superb chances. Certainly, Lehner had no idea where the puck was even while making the saves.

Wilde Goats

  • Tomas Plekanec had a poor camp but I chalked it up to a veteran not really needing to prove himself. “Let's wait,” I said. Now he's had a poor first game. He seemed slow and certainly didn't drive the play. We’re going to need to see something from Plekanec soon. I said when he got the big $6 million contract that the clock was not on his side anymore. I'll reiterate that Plekanec should be between Gallagher and Pacioretty. Galchenyuk should be with Radulov and Lehkonen. Plekanec has shown no chemistry with Radulov. The Russian has had more chemistry with Galchenyuk in three shifts than with Plekanec all camp.
  • Sergachev was used only sparingly and we could see why. The game is played at a faster pace and higher level than he's ready for at this moment. I feel certain his learning curve is going to make him a star in two or three years but I think he's only getting the 9 games this year. Early in the second period, he tried a tricky one-on-one move at the blue line as the last man back. It failed. Therrien doesn't suffer that even with the stars, never mind rookies. He was able to defend the error but then got rocked right after. Another shift he tried a poorly timed hip check that never had a chance for. He seems to learn so quickly. Not a good game one. Let's see if game two is better.
  • Radulov. Let's just say that Plekanec and Radulov are still learning to find each other.

Wilde Cards

  • The main reason the Habs put the win on the board was far superior goaltending. Lehner was weak. Montoya was strong. As Bergevin says, you can't win without the foundation. Two extra points in the win column already thanks to that signing of Montoya.