I'm going to keep this pretty brief, because I found it pretty hard to see anything that really jumped out at me in Montreal's 4-3 overtime win Tuesday that screamed coaching change.
One thing I was thinking between the second and third periods was that the Habs might have folded a week ago under Guy Carbonneau after playing such an atrocious second period, so how they came out for the third would be a pretty good indicator of Bob Gainey's influence in the room and behind the bench.
Another change was that Gainey significantly shortened his bench in the third period with the Canadiens desperate for a goal to tie it, going with three lines, and with Tom Kostopoulos seeing very little ice time. I would have to believe he would have been out there if the Habs were protecting lead, but that kind of bench management is a big departure from Carbonneau's insistence to roll four lines all game long.
Gainey said he was finding his way on the bench in the second period, so he couldn't really blame the players for their performance because he too was a little lost. But he did identify a few things that still needed to change.
"I felt I saw a lot of things I've been seeing recently," he said. "Even in the first period, I thought that we were just a little bit behind. We weren't right on the timing either defensively or offensively to accomplish the play that was there. The second period slipped away into a deeper groove in that direction. The third period was our best period, and we needed it."
The positives in my eyes was the play of Saku Koivu's line with Alex Tanguay and Andrei Kostitsyn, who for a second straight game was Montreal's best trio and produced three of Montreal's four goals.
Carey Price gave up a couple of softies, but he was there when he was needed in the third period and looked confident in goal, even if he was far from perfect.
Finally, the defence looked completely transformed, at least the top two pairings. Josh Gorges had a rough night playing alongside Mathieu Schneider, but I felt Mike Komisarek had his best game in some time as did Roman Hamrlik and Ryan O'Byrne, while Andrei Markov was his usual self.
Wednesday at noon will be Bob Gainey's first full practice as coach, and I have a feeling that the first obvious signs of changes will come in Thursday's game against the Islanders. But as far as starts go, Tuesday's win wasn't bad.