Higgins-Koivu-Ryder is starting to look like a real first line. I know they aren't scoring much right now but they will, they are creating way too many chances not to. They have been dangerous in every single game and the chemistry these guys have is awesome.
Higgins is really starting to turn into a star. I don't know what he did this summer but the kid suddenly has soft hands. I never thought Chris Higgins would be dangling behind the net and in the corners like Kovalev does. It's great to see and once he starts scoring, the goals will come in bunches. He'd be leading the league if he could finish half of them.
It's frustrating now, but he hasn't had a training camp and just had surgery a month ago. I'll be worried if the same thing is happening 5 games from now.
Ryder looks like a totally different player. He's faster, smarter, grittier...Reminds me of Rookie Ryder. The guy is backchecking, making sweet plays...He's actually creating chances and dangling! Without losing the puck! He lost alot of weight and it really shows.
Brisebois is even too, and Hamrlik was +2 before tonight (now he's even).
Kovalev is playing really well too, him alone is making the 2nd line dangerous.
The 4th line, well, mainly Begin-Dandenault at least, are excellent. They were flying tonight and are even creating chances. Dandenault up front is a huge improvement (on his play) and generally the defence is very good, especially Bouillon. They both benefited from being split up.
That's about it. Feel free to add what you think has been good.
I think that the #1 thing is an even effort every night, which when we have pushes they tend to pay off more because we're forcing the other team to roll even lines against us which gives us more flexibility. Last year we were seemingly always playing against the top lines because we didn't put up enough effort, didn't backcheck enough, but in the last few games, I've seen the opposite teams' third and fourth lines a lot more because our third and fourth lines were more effective at neutralising the top lines and backchecking.
We might have lost two straight, but we're putting forward a winning team's effort. I'm sure that if you were to ask both of the Sens' and the Panthers' players and they would tell you that it could have easilly been the other way and that Montreal is playing great hockey.