But when revealed that Gomez was the key to Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri and others signing with the Canadiens, the premium seems worthwhile.
The on-ice chemistry was evident again tonight as rebound from the stick of Gomez was knocked out of the air by Brian Gionta and behind Ryan Miller for the overtime winner.
Travis Moen, another free agent signing, continues to prove his value with another solid game. Moen led the team in hits and scored his second goal in consecutive games on a great individual effort taking the puck to the Sabres net.
But the star of the game was Carey Price. The Canadiens were out-shot badly again: 35-17. Price kept his team in the game, making several brilliant saves. In two games, Price is sporting a .951 save percentage.
After the game, coach Jacques Martin said, "The chances aren't as bad as the shots, but we have a lot of work to do. We'll take the two points, but at the same time, we know we have to improve in certain areas."
Martin shortened his bench in an effort to spark the offense and also by necessity. Glen Metropolit and Ryan O'Byrne both left the game with injuries.
Max Pacioretty, Georges Laraque, and Greg Stewart saw limited icetime with Stewart only playing just over three minutes.
Reports are that O'Byrne has a sprained knee and will not accompany the team out West. Metropolit has a rib injury after colliding with Patrick Kaleta and will be re-evaluated when the team gets to Calgary.
Waiting in the wings is Kyle Chipchura, who has been cleared to play but has not had any game action.
Tomas Plekanec continues to play hard but isn't getting any help from his line mates. Andrei Kostitsyn has not yet gotten on track.
The francophone media may be thrilled that Scott Gomez is learning how to speak French. I would prefer that he spent the time learning how to win faceoffs. Gomez was a pitiful 27 percent at the faceoff dot.
Other than one good shift the third line is still missing in action. Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre aren't playing well at either end of the ice. Over the summer, it would appear that they forgot how to make and receive a pass.
The Canadiens are not sustaining any offensive pressure. The Habs only had one shot on goal in the third period, and that was with the benefit of two power-play opportunities.
The power-play went 0-for-6 tonight and needs a lot of work. Calling up Yannick Weber from Hamilton could provide immediate help.
You may not know it if you were watching RDS, but Hal Gill and Paul Mara played better tonight. Roman Hamrlik showed some signs of rust but played 24 minutes. Jaroslav Spacek had five blocked shots.
The Habs defensemen continue to have trouble clearing the zone but deserve credit for collectively delivering a stand-up effort despite depleted numbers.
Former Hab, Craig Rivet was noteworthy for the Sabres. Rivet had an assist and led the Sabres in shots with five.
The Canadiens continue their five-game road trip on Tuesday with a game in Calgary against the Flames.
Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri
Plekanec, Pacioretty, Andrei Kostitsyn
Lapierre, Latendresse, Moen
Metropolit, Stewart, Laraque
Carey Price starts in goal for the Canadiens; Ryan Miller for the Sabres
Scratches: Chipchura, Markov, D'Agostini
Rocket's three stars
1. Carey Price
2. Travis Moen
3. Craig Rivet
(photo credit: Getty images)
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