David Desharnais got a lucky goal tonight and almost got an empty-netter as well, as he now has 7 points in his first 9 games - all of them Montréal Canadiens wins.
How good are the Habs so far this year? Goalie Carey Price (the league's reigning Hart, Lindsay and Vezina winner) cannot be accused of stealing a single game so far, the team has 5 players over the point-per-game range (Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Brendan Gallagher), and Desharnais has been playing and producing on the third line with Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise.
The only two Montréal skaters who have yet to register a single point are defensemen Tom Gilbert (+3, 2 penalty minutes) and Alexei Emelin (+5, 10 penalty minutes). Both Price (7-0) and rookie Mike Condon (2-0) are undefeated, have GAAs under 2.00, and save percentages over .940.
Yes, there is a caveat: they have faced the expected-to-tank Toronto Maple Leafs twice and the Buffalo Sabres once, as well as frequent Habs victims the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers, so one could argue those were ''gimmies'', but that's still a hell of a way to gain some momentum and get the ball rolling. Tonight's game against the Leafs may have been their hardest-fought game.
I crossed paths with Desharnais after the game as he was going to meet with media types for interviews, and he signed two cards for me in black sharpie, with (what he probably thought was the) corresponding jersey number on each.
First, from In The Game's 2005-06 Heroes And Prospects set comes card #309, showing him wearing the Chicoutimi Saguenéens' beautiful white (home) uniform, where he correctly identified his number as 15:
of which I already had a signed copy), where he ended his signature with 51 despite wearing #36 on the card:
Marc Bergevin to keep his best two-way center for two more years.
I really like the make-up of this team, where everyone is slotted in the right spot thanks to the addition of Jeff Petry on defense and switching Alex Galchenyuk from wing to center and Lars Eller from center to wing.