Month In Review: Montreal Canadiens Still Searching for That Spark

Matt WoodmanCorrespondent INovember 4, 2008

The Montreal Canadiens had an impressive month of October—points-wise, that is.

The Canadiens went 7-1-1 in just nine games this past month, but something seems to be missing from the Canadiens game. It’s that spark that got them the Eastern Conference regular-season title last season.

It just doesn’t seem like the Canadiens are as exciting to watch this season thus far. Maybe that’s because of the high expectations this season, and the low expectations set on the Habs last season.

So far, stud players from last season have been somewhat struggling offensively. Last season's top trio of Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Alex Kovalev have yet to really get things going, as they combined for just six goals in the month of October.

But there have been plenty of bright spots for the Canadiens. New comers like Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang have been contributing consistently every night.

Lang notched six points in nine games—and that was playing on the third line with Tom Kostopoulos and Sergei Kostitsyn, although he has played on the first power-play line with the Captain Saku Koivu.

Kostitsyn has yet to prove Keith Jones of the TSN panel correct. Jones stated that Kostitsyn was in fact as talented as former linemates Sam Gagner and Patrick Kane on the OHL’s London Knights.  

Tanguay has been wicked so far, scoring 11 points in nine October games. He also put Saku Koivu’s anticipated scoring depression on hold. The captain also has 11 points in ten regular-season games. Even Guillaume Latendresse has looked good along the pair’s side, putting Christopher Higgins' return to the top line on hold.

Georges Laraque finally made his Canadiens debut and hasn’t disappointed. He fought Sean Thornton seven seconds into his first game.

On the back end, Andrei Markov has exploded for thirteen points in ten games, and leads the team in points and assists.

Mike Komisarek and Josh Gorges have also been good, but there is definitely room to improve.

Francis Bouillon made his return to the lineup after a knee injury kept him out of play until October 20—a game against the Panthers that saw him score the game winner. He now has two goals in five games.

Ryan O’Byrne and Patrice Brisebois have been splitting time since Bouillon’s return. Early on, O’Byrne was one of Montreal’s most efficient defencemen, while Brisebois...well, has been Brisebois.

Roman Hamrlik has picked up a bit of the scoring slack left by Mark Streit with five points, and has been solid in front of Carey Price.

Speaking of Carey Price, he has been one of the most spectacular goalies so far in the NHL. Early on this season he has had a number of highlight-reel saves, and even one in the preseason that may snag him save of the year honors.  His play recalls that of Pierre McGuire, although Price has given up a couple of highlight-reel weak goals in previous weeks.

Jaroslav Halak hasn’t been too shabby himself—until his last game versus the Anaheim Ducks, in which he allowed four goals on 12 shots.

The Canadiens have been good this past month, but even with Halloween come and gone, the Habs still have the potential to be scary good.