TORONTO – The first game of the season is generally a moment when the result matters less than the process because it is the first chance we are getting to evaluate that process and judge how a team will perform that season.
This is why the first game of the season is often over-evaluated because one game does not make a trend. But you enter a season knowing what things need to go right for a team to have success, and when those things don’t go right on the first night of the season, it can be alarming.
For the Canadiens, two of the major things that need to go right for them to have any chance of making the playoffs this season is finding offence on their power play and allowing their depth up front to tilt the ice in their favour. Neither of those things went right Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena, and that is why they lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The power play was a disaster, gifted nearly two full minutes of five-on-three down a goal in the third period and failing to generate a single scoring chance until there were only a few seconds left, and whiffing on that chance. Coach Dominique Ducharme said prior to the game that he put no more emphasis on the power play in training camp than he did any other facet of their overall game, and that’s perfectly normal. But the lack of assertiveness, the lack of pace, as Ducharme noted, on the power play was not a good sign.
Again, one game is not a trend. But if this were to become one, the Canadiens will be in for a long season.
As for the depth up front, the line of Joel Armia,
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