Call of the Wilde: Radulov was a great signing
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2017 10:31PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 1, 2017 9:02AM EST
- Most of the offensive good came from Radulov. In this one, he featured his passing. The set-up of Pacioretty for the first period marker was perfection. Second period, he set up Danault who was the trailer on the play when everyone thought he would go to Pacioretty again. Danault had a perfect look but fired wide. Still second period, a one-time pass to Pacioretty who was wide open. Third period and Radulov is dangling all over the crease area for a third assist. What a signing!
- Speaking of signings, everyone says Danault isn't a first-line centre and he isn't, but he sure is doing something right because first-line players are excellent when they play with him. Pacioretty is on his best run of the season playing with Danault.
- Pacioretty now has 24 on the season. He had a hat trick in this one. It’s kind of wild how much heat this guy gets being the Habs’ leading scorer every year. In a bad year he gets 30 and a good one 39. His 24 this year is tied for second in the NHL. I think he's gonna be fine.
- The line of Desharnais, Shaw and Andrighetto had some nice looks on a lot of shifts, so it was no surprise to me when they connected. Desharnais, off for eight weeks with a knee injury, was around the puck and made some useful plays culminating in a sweet shot upstairs for the key goal that solidified things. Another time, Andrighetto had a clear shot at an almost certain goal but he somehow fanned. It will be interesting to see how Desharnais is employed when Galchenyuk returns. Word is that Galchenyuk is back soon. One assumes Desharnais goes to the wing because you can't move Mitchell to wing; he defends too well. All one is sure of is though the club lacks a two-centre they sure have a ton of depth. Some good players won't play when everyone, including Gallagher, is healthy.
- Nesterov was good. I liked him. Smooth skater. Smart choices. He has a sense of danger and avoids it. He doesn't try too much. He gets the puck through bodies to the net. He joined a rush as a trailer and it took a big glove save to deny him. Nice first game getting used to everyone.
- Markov must be doing something right. The Habs allowed one more goal per game without him than with him when he had his groin injury. And in his first game back, even without a bed-ridden Jeff Petry, the Habs kept the scoreboard relatively clean under the name Buffalo.
- The fourth Habs goal was worth a horse by itself. Four tape-to-tape passes leaving the Sabres’ heads on a swivel and not in a good way. Plekanec to Markov was already gorgeous. He had an open view. How did he spot a streaking Byron? No chance for a goalie to even get set. Fourteen for Byron. So let's recap: Danault for two players struggling and Byron off the waiver wire. Bergevin seems to know what he's doing.
- Byron with 14 as he eclipses his career high with every goal. What a great play he has developed when he's beside a player trying to get a breakaway. He just lobs the puck down the ice and then just skates faster to it. Fantastic. Who has ever tried that?
- Carey Price is just quietly going about his business. No one noticed him. No one talked about him. However, the Sabres had some quality looks. He did what he does to make what could have been a tough game an easy one. Two late goals against when you have already put five on the board mean little. Price was outstanding when it mattered.
- Why did Plekanec shoot on his first period breakaway from 20 feet? He could have skated right to the goal. He could have tried a deke. He could have cut down the reaction time of the goalie. It was odd to shoot on a breakaway from 20 feet.
- The referees have completely lost their way in the NHL again. The first forechecker can never get a path to the net without facing an obstacle course of hindrance. Sticks are now up and inside waist high often. Players are adroitly stepping in lanes then acting like it was an accident. It is extremely discouraging to watch such a fast sport slowed down all night long. The league is desperate for goals. Scoring is near the same level as what was known as the dead-puck era and this stat is especially awful considering the dead-puck era didn't play an extra five and have a shootout to pad the stats. The league needs to get on top of this. It's clearly trending in the wrong direction.