Updated: Jan 22, 2021
The Canadiens came out with guns blazing in the first period. Their transition game, relentless forecheck and ability to win battles along the boards gave the initial indication the Leafs would be in trouble. The Suzuki line was red-hot, and Danault's line seemed to be holding the Leafs top line in check.
But then it happened. The Canadiens put on their 2019/2020 masks and started showing signs of the team they were. You know, the team that had TWO 8-game losing streaks because in part of an inability to keep leads, a brutal penchant for taking unnecessary penalties as well as a pathetically static and disorganized looking penalty killing unit (we keep hearing how great players like Lehkonen and Armia are without the puck, heck even Weber, Chiarot and newly acquired Joel Edmundson are supposed to be yet the PK continues to struggle. Things that definitely make you go hmmm).
No doubt, this team clearly has tons more talent and depth than they've had in the past few seasons (heck I just wrote a piece stating that this was the best Canadiens roster in over 30 years!). I also realize it takes time to gel, its early in the season, and bla bla bla. I get all that. But if these tendencies continue, I think it would only be fair to question the character and mindset of this group. Why do they seem to crumble so easily the moment the momentum seems to change sides? Can Carey Price not make the key saves at the most crucial times of a game? How can it be that a so-called physical, robust group of d-men, so easily allow the Leafs' forwards to park themselves in front the Canadiens goaltender?
One thing is clear. If the Canadiens continue to lose leads late in games, if they continue to give the impression that they are a fragile team, serious questions will have to be asked. For now, however, the brand of hockey, the talent level of this team is unquestionably better than we've seen for quite some time, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt, and hope we will continue to be as entertained as we were last night.