Welcome folks, to the paranormal edition of Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down.
This week's column will frankly look like it was written as the pilot for a reboot of the Twilight Zone series. On a chilly Halloween evening, I wanted to make it a point to tip my hat off to the supporting cast and give them every single inch of recognition I could find in my zombie body.
Week 4 was packed with excitement as the Canadiens momentarily took first place in the whole league with their win against the Islanders on Friday. Only to lose it on Saturday as their four-game winning streak was snapped by the Florida Panthers.
Get ready for a historical ride Hab hounds, for the first time in my column's young history, I will not be giving out a Thumbs Down award. Too many positive things happened this week that could not be overlooked.
Before we get things rolling, let's do a little scoreboard recap for those traitors who chose to watch the World Series instead—just kidding.
Monday October 25th
Wednesday October 27th
New York Islanders 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 5
Friday October 29th
Montreal Canadiens 3 @ New York Islanders 1
Saturday October 30th
Florida Panthers 3 @ Montreal Canadiens 1
Thumbs up to you, Darche Choke.
For those of you unfamiliar with the D'Arce Choke, it's a choke hold commonly used by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, essentially it's a headlock where the person applying it stops the blood from circulating to your brain by trapping your shoulder.
A very efficient technique that is used by an assortment of modern mixed martial artists. I promise I have a point, just let me get to it. In Brazil, it is also known as the Bravo Choke. Bravo, being the operative word.
Mathieu Darche looked a little like the aforementioned grappling hold this past week as he tallied two goals and played some brilliant positional hockey for the Canadiens.
I personally heard a few murmurs from my entourage when Pierre Gauthier resigned him to a one-year contract in the offseason. Many were claiming that Jacques Martin was playing favorites and that Darche was one of the players receiving special treatment.
Nothing was made of it from my own end; it makes me feel so much better to give him a Thumbs Up this week as it is a literal ''I told you so'' to those who doubted our GM's decision to keep him.
Thumbs Up to you, T-Mo.
Travis Moen came an inch closer to getting a Gordie Howe hat-trick this week. In Layman's terms, a goal, an assist and a fight. Named after the legendary M. Howe for his skills in getting on the score sheet and cracking someone's head wide open.
That quasi-achievement alone is not what earns him this mention, Moen mirrored Darche's tally by scoring two goals as well.
For those of you who don't necessarily look at statistics, T-Mo now has as many goals as Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez combined.
With Moen, Pouliot and Darche having a tremendous week, one might think that the problem on the second line might not be finding a left winger.
Searching for the strongest medication available that can get those two out of a coma, maybe a Gordie Howe right hook?
Yeah...that probably wouldn't help the situation.
Thumbs Up to you, Jeff Halpern.
Another one of Pierre Gauthier's questionable signings before the start of training camp. Based on the level of young talent that is rising up the ranks, the addition of Halpern had many Habs fans confused.
I hate to do this to you again, but Halpern now has the exact same tally as Michael Cammalleri with three goals and four assists. Anyone in the world that predicted this before the start of the season could very well be the second coming of Nostradamus.
The department in which Halpern shines though, has nothing to do with point production and is all about possession. Puck possession, not the type that NFL players get arrested for.
Halps' face-off percentage is currently the eighth best in the league—59 percent to be precise. His success on the draw has tremendously contributed to Montreal's opening month run and should not be overlooked.
Thumbs Up to you, Auld Friend.
Jacques Martin decided to go with backup netminder Alex Auld on Friday evening in order to give Carey Price a little bit of a rest.
The 29-year-old journeyman gatekeeper responded very well, helping the Canadiens defeat the Islanders for the second time in three days by only allowing one goal and making 30 saves.
Auld's detractors all lost a little bit of credibility after this performance, and everyone else was relieved to see him perform the way he did.
The penalty kill made it a point to protect their second string goaltender's confidence level by killing off a five on three situation in the second period.
A great debut that saw him keep his composure and make a few key saves en route to his first win of the season.
Who knows, maybe Auld was channeling Stanley Cup winning backup goalie Andre Racicot.
Let's take a look at what the Habs have in store this week.
Tuesday November 2nd
Montreal Canadiens @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Friday November 5th
Montreal Canadiens @ Buffalo Sabres
Saturday November 6th
Ottawa Senators @ Montreal Canadiens
That's it for this week people, please don't eat too much candy. Send some over my way if you have too much, my mom doesn't want me to eat any sugar. I keep telling her I'm 25 but she won't listen to a word I say.
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