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Regular season game #14

Sitting at 9-4-1, the Habs are in rarefied air near the top of the division and conference, but since the rotten Bruins have two games in-hand, we’ll stow the parade plans for now.

There was a less than buoyant feeling that swept through Habs nation when it was made known that Peter Budaj would start over Carey Price, who was sick with the flu. Budaj is iffy at the best of times, but there’s no doubt that his teammates have played jelly-legged in front of him, and they’re the first to admit it.

Tonight, the Habs played a much tighter game in front of a floundering Flyers squad, giving up just 19 shots. Combined with a 57% success rate on faceoffs, the Flyers had no real chance in this one. The Habs also did things like scoring goals at even strength, staying disciplined and pouncing on the Flyers, a tired squad playing their second game in two nights. All things that had big empty check boxes next to them at the start of the season. The Habs definitely need to make habits of these things rather than having them exist as Halley Comet-like occurrences.

Not a lot of this will register with Habs Nation as we sit on pins and needles waiting for updates on the health of Max Pacioretty, Brandon Gallagher and Alexei Emelin. With a ton of hockey to be played next week, I think everyone would be wise to enjoy the early season success now before the injuries and compressed schedule come home to roost. A 9-4-1 record is certainly beyond anyone’s expectations, but it can all come crashing down quickly and if we’re being honest with ourselves, the Habs are probably not as good as their record indicates, though they deserve all of the credit in the world for being where they are. Despite some curious line up decisions, Michel Therrien is pushing the right buttons while his top line from last year continues to look for its scoring touch, and he also deserves a good dollop of praise.

Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel

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