Welcome to the second edition of Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down. We've got a lot of points to cover for Week 2, so let's get down to business.
Before we do that, here's a little scoreboard recap for those of you that have been hiding under a boulder for the past seven days.
Wednesday, October 13th
Friday, October 15th
Saturday, October 16th
Ottawa Senators 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 4
Thumbs up to you, Tommy Turtleneck
A well-deserved honor for the Czech, as he dominated the week in terms of point production with two goals and two assists, including the game-winner against the Sens.
It only took him a pair of games to get started, but it seems as though Tomas Plekanec's keys are in the ignition and his V14 motor is revving up those RPMs.
His accurate passing has also helped Andrei Kostitsyn kick-start his own season, as well—more on him in a minute.
This is the type of point production the Habs were hoping for when they signed Plekanec to a long-term deal during the summer. Coupled with the strong play of both his linemates, Tommy T looks set for a very productive year.
Nothing but good news for us Habs fans, as it seems like the Canadiens have a legitimately dangerous first line for the first time in a long time.
Thumbs up to you, AK46
You probably saw this one coming: Andrei Kostitsyn was by far one of the best players on the ice for the Canadiens during Week 2.
Scoring two goals and adding one assist, AK46 created a whole heap of opportunities for himself and his linemates.
I for one believe that getting rid of the drama brought forth by younger brother Sergei was probably one of the best moves of the summer for Pierre Gauthier. Andrei now looks as focused as he's ever been, and seems very comfortable on the ice.
Many people believe that in life, there's skill and there's will. The skill part is obvious with Andrei; it's the will that lacks most of the time. Looks like he found perfect balance between the two this week. Here's hoping that he continues this synergy in the future.
On a little side note, after being announced as the first star on Saturday, Kostitsyn skated around the ice and shot pucks in the stands. I don't know much about the history of Belorussian philanthropy, but that was as close as it gets.
Thumbs up to you, Carey Price
Here you have it folks: Our first official recipient of two TUs in a row is ''Cowboy'' Carey Price.
Another week of sheer awesomeness for Pricey, as he should be considered the main reason the Habs squeaked out a win in Buffalo.
Price's goals-against average currently stands at 2.57, with a reasonable save percentage of .914. He is currently listed as fifth in the NHL with 152 saves in five games. That's an average of 30.4 shots a game. So much for the question marks.
If we go beyond the numbers, Price has not only boosted momentum with magnificent saves, but he also plays an important strategic role.
As I've stated before, considering the Habs have high-efficiency face-off forwards like Scott Gomez and Jeff Halpern, it is of vital importance for Carey to jump on those loose pucks and stop the play.
The only success opposing goal scorers have had against No. 31 is by moving him from left to right or by having it deflect off of two skates, a beer cup, a linesman and a stick so someone can bury the rebound.
Thumbs down to you, power play
Yes, I know they scored their first goal and it will be one of many scored on the power play...when Markov returns.
Fact of the matter is, folks, that the Habs now sit 29th in the league in terms of power-play percentage with 5.9 percent. One goal in 17 opportunities.
Every game they've played has been separated by one goal, so potting a few with the extra man would have given them a lot more breathing room. It also goes to say that they could have possibly won the games they lost. But let's not dwell on the past; let's focus on the future.
On a positive note, the 30th ranked team is Ottawa. Signing power-play god Sergei Gonchar in the summer purposely for help on the power play makes this even worse.
Thumbs down to you, Jacques Martin's Space Hammer.
This week, Roman Hamrlik returned to the lineup after recovering from his lower body injury.
With one of his strongest blue-liners returning, Jacques Martin opted to scratch Ryan O'Byrne and dress Alexandre Picard. Fans in the stands rejoiced as O'Byrne was no longer sending pucks at them and getting delay of game penalties.
Martin decided to pair up Picard with P.K. Subban and a returning Hamrlik with Jaroslav Spacek. Horrible defensive play ensued.
Coach could have benefited from having Hamrlik with a younger Picard on the third defensive pairing, as the Hammer often plays mistake-free hockey. A lot less ice time would've also helped him ease into the season since he didn't appear in any of the exhibition games.
Martin should have kept Subban and Spacek because if Spacer slips, Primetime can usually fix up the mess with his explosiveness.
Let's leave the operating of the Space Hammer to NASA, please.
Thumbs down to you, Brian Gionta's french tutor.
Just joking, guys—could you imagine, though?
A very big honorable mention to Gionta for trying his hand at Moliere's language.
Here's what the Habs have in store for Week 3.
Thursday, October 21st
New Jersey Devils @ Montreal Canadiens
Saturday, October 23rd
Montreal Canadiens @ Ottawa Senators
That's pretty much it for this week's edition, Hab hounds. Be sure to stay tuned to the Bleacher Report Canadiens page next Sunday evening for another edition of TU/TD.
Until then, Goodnight and Godspeed.
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