Montreal - The home season opening game took place on Thursday for the Montreal Canadiens. Each year players were introduced to the crowed through the home announcer's voice. This year, the organization decided to do things differently. After players stepped onto the ice and line up on their blue line, A microphone was passed along the line for players to introduce themselves. It was a great initiative and the crowd responded positively.
One by one, players introduced themselves in French by saying "Je suis Carey Price" , "Je suis Brian Gionta" before passing the mic to the next player. When it came to Andrei Kostitsyn, he only said his name... There were cheers but you could also hear booing. Is it because he didn't say "Je suis" ("I am") before saying his name? Knowing the Montreal fans I am "posilutely" (read absolutely positive as my father-in-law would put it) that's what it was.
Kostitsyn replied to those fans by notching two assists. He picked up a lose puck in the corner and came out from the left to feed a perfect pass to pinching Roman Hamrlik who put the puck behind Avs' net minder Craig Anderson in the first frame. Colorado rallied back in the second period with two lucky goals. Hejduk (3) wristed a shot that deflected off the skate of defense man Josh Gorges. On that play, if Price had have had his paddle on the ice that goal would have never got in. Then six minutes later similar situation: Cumiskey (1) simply tried to put the puck in front of Price's net before it was deflected by Shawn Bell's skate to find twine. It was Bell's first NHL game as a Habs. Then Kostitsyn found Plekanek in the third to tie the game. Ryan O'Reilly closed the books when he scored on his own rebound with 6:13 to play.
Both teams showed perseverance but Montreal failed to battle for most of the second period. Although Montreal had a so-so second period, officials Marc Joanette and Dave Jackson did not show up all night.
They missed way too many calls on either side. On Plekanek's goal you can clearly see the puck hit the screen above the back window but there was no whistle. Then about 5 seconds before Reilly's goal, Gomez got hit from behind by Cody McLeod that sent Gomez's helmet flying. There should have been a call on that hit. On the last 10 seconds or so, Montreal pulled their goalie and at one point there were 7 Habs against 4 avs... none of the officials or lines men saw it.
With a better job from the officials and a sustained effort by the Habs, Montreal would have come out of the game with at least one point.
Montreal Will be the host of former team mate Alex Kovalev and the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, October 17th. (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, CJAD Radio-800, CKAC Radio-730).
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