Newcomer Alex Tanguay realizes he’s not going to have a performance like this every night. He’s he’s just trying to come in and help his team.
And help his team he did.
Tanguay exploded out of the starting blocks last night, picking up a goal and three assists in his second career game as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, on a night when the Habs blasted the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 at the Air Canada Centre.
“I’m just coming in and trying to help the team. This is my second game….I’m trying to get to know the other guys I’m playing with, but it’s been fun.”
Fun for Tanguay, fun for his linemates, fun for the rest of the Canadiens, not so much fun for the Leafs. Not when you count Mikhail Grabovski among your best players.
Tanguay and his linesmates, team captain Saku Koivu and Guillaume Latendresse, were all over the ice and all over the scoresheet last night. Koivu had three assists, while Latendresse had a goal and two assists. Latendresse certainly made a strong early case as to why he deserves to play on the same line with a couple of crafty veterans like Koivu and Tanguay.
Despite the offensive exploits of that line, the real scoring hero was Sergei Kostitsyn, who collected two goals and one assist, and had a number of glorious opportunities to pick up the hat trick. Kostitsyn has grabbed the early spotlight from big brother Andrei with an explosive start to the young season (he was one of the few bright spots in a listless opening-night 2-1 shootout loss in Buffalo.) And while Sergei shines, Andrei and the rest of his linemates, Alex Kovalev and Tomas Plekanec, are still looking for their sea legs, although Plekanec did pick up an assist on a goal by Kovalev, the second goal of the game on Vesa Tokala, who gave way to Curtis Joseph after 40 minutes.
By that time, the Canadiens had built up a 6-1 lead, thanks to a four-goal explosion in the second period that featured three power-play goals. In fact, it was 6-1 Montreal with this one barely 30 minutes old.
“We had a better effort,” said head coach Guy Carbonneau when this one was over. “Timing was a lot better. Our power play kept getting chances, and they went in tonight.”
Now, as Alex Tanguay will tell you, one game does not a season make. But Habs fans can not help but drool over the prospects of following a Canadiens team this Centennial season that has the potential to beat any given team on any given night with three evenly balanced scoring lines. Mind you, last night’s win came over an American Hockey League club disguised as the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tomorrow night’s game in Philadelphia against the Flyers promises to be a much tougher assignment.