Game Day : Habs @ Coyotes
The Habs travel to the dessert to face off against the Phoenix Coyotes. The last 7 times these two teams played each other, the Habs have walked away with the victory. With a struggle filled start, I don't like the Habs chances at making it 8 straight.
The Phoenix Coyotes look to already be playing in mid season form. Veterans Ray Whitney and Shane Doan are off to incredible starts. In 13 games played Whitney has 14 points and Doan has 10. Let's not forget to mention the explosive Radim Vrbata, who has 12 points. While Vrbata may not make the score sheet every night, you can count on his explosive streaks to help keep the Coyotes in the mix with some of the higher rated teams in the Western Conference.
Les Canadiens are struggling, theres no nice way to put it. It seemed they had pulled themselves out of the hole they had dug, but from the way things have gone so far in November they're right back in it. After Perry Pearn was let go it seemed to have given the team some jump, but that quickly fizzled out within a few games. The Habs look terrible on the rush and their transition play is hardly worth mentioning. They lack a playmaking defenseman ( Markov ) to set up plays coming out of their own zone. I'm not sure whether they can't pass or if the forwards are just not willing to work to accept the pass, but its disgusting out there.
It's pretty hard to say anyone on Montreal is off to a great start. Offensively the Habs are lead by Tomas Plekanec, who seems to be the only Canadiens that is earning his spot. He may have had a bad game earlier this week but I don't hold him to it, I would be frustrated with my team as well. Max Pacioretty will also get a mention, as he has 11 points in his first 14 games of the season. As for the rest of the team, in my honest opinion, they are a few levels below mediocre. We are not getting the kind of effort we expected from a lot of our veterans. Cammalleri loves to rip around the ice looking busy and Gionta is hardly noticeable some nights.
Carey Price and Mike Smith get the call in nets tonight. Mike Smith has been a surprise since his arrival in Phoenix, he's already tallied 6 wins with a .926GAA, a far cry from his performances when he played with Tampa.
Game starts at 9:00pm tonight and is being aired on RDS.
A few notes.
Mike Smith's success does not confirm Ilya Bryzgalov's lack of talent. It only confirms that being a successful goaltender in a low pressure marker is an easier feat to accomplish.
Cammalleri did have a good game this Monday vs the Oilers. Apart from that, not so much.
Andrei Kostitsyn's absence last game proved his worth to his team.
The Habs need to forecheck. They were a few games ago, and they did it with success. You can cheat the system while the score is even, and you need to let go of the system when down two goals. You don't make friends with salad.