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Afternoon Delight

Regular season game #8

When it rains, it pours. Once the Senators scored what should have been the tying goal, you couldn’t help but feel like you had seen this movie before: the Canadiens cling to a fragile lead only to lose it in the third period or overtime as they were unable to re-emerge from their defensive shell. It came as a welcome surprise that the officials called off the goal and assigned a goaltender interference penalty to Jakob Silfverberg. No contact was made with Carey Price, yet the zebras saw it differently. Indeed, things are going mostly in the Habs favour these days, and it shows in their 6-2 record.

Yesterday’s game showed a version of the Habs that took full advantage of a team ready to be trounced. Today’s team showed a willingness to take the extra lumps in blocking 25 Ottawa shots en route to a tight 2-1 win. Full marks for character.

We’ve still got to show some restraint in both our assessment and praise of the Habs. The 6-2 record is certainly something to write home about, but it has been a soft schedule full of home dates. We need to see this team on the road for an extended stretch before we can get a clear picture of what they’re all about. But the body language, attitude, and desire seems fully entrenched in the right spots.

This Superbowl weekend was successful on many fronts for the Habs: David Desharnais finally came to play, Subban made his second start and added his second assist to the ledger. Lars Eller woke up on Saturday, Tomas Kaberle is finally where he ought to be – in the press box, Max Pacioretty made a successful return (adding an assist on his first shift), and Erik Cole scored the winning goal while throwing 6 hits on Sunday. With the first line rounding in to shape, there can be no better news as the schedule verges on getting tougher.

With the Bruins coming to town on Wednesday, the opportunity is there for the Habs to send the message that fun time is over on Bell Center ice for visitors.

All in all, Habs fans have very little to complain about, but a few things to be concerned with. Staked to an early 6-2 record, Michel Therrien has his team on the right track and has a healthy squad to iron out the kinks with and prove the doubters wrong.

It’s been a while since the Canadiens were in such a favourable position where whatever happens to them will depend entirely on how they continue to execute on the ice.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel

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