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DET@MTL: About Thursday night…

Unfortunately, the Canadiens' home opener didn't have a happy ending

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre.

Was fatigue a factor?

There's no denying that playing back-to-back games takes a real toll on the body, but Claude Julien's players weren't about to blame their subpar performance on their busy schedule to begin the 2019-20 campaign.

"We've just got to be better as a whole," insisted Max Domi, who scored his second goal of the season on Thursday night. "Every area we can be better. If every guy pulls their weight, we'll be fine."

Julien made that point crystal clear during his postgame press conference, emphasizing the need to make improvements across the board.

He didn't really like what he saw from his group versus Detroit, noting that errors aplenty were rampant from start to finish.

"We're not sharp. At the end of the day, we've got to find that sharpness if we're going to win hockey games," stressed Julien. "The best thing we can do right now is look at our video and sharpen up. I think physically we need a break, but mentally we've got to sharpen up. That's what you've got to do sometimes. We'll do a little video again and see if we can't sharpen the guys up a bit."

Video: MTL Recap: Armia, Domi net goals in home-opening loss

That being said, the veteran bench boss also gave the Red Wings their due for their strong performance.

"You have to give credit to the Red Wings. I thought they played a good game for a team that was on the road. They were patient, and they forced us to make mistakes. They took advantage," mentioned Julien. "But with respect to us, I wouldn't say it's the fatigue. We weren't sharp. Mentally, we made a lot of mistakes."

No doubt that will all be discussed during a team meeting which will be held on Friday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

Armia, Drouin keep on delivering

Joel Armia picked up right where he left off in Buffalo on Wednesday, lighting the lamp for the third time in two games on Thursday night.

Video: DET@MTL: Armia snaps a quick wrister past Bernier

For his part, Jonathan Drouin extended his point streak to four consecutive games with an assist on the Armia marker.

Nevertheless, the 24-year-old forward was disappointed with the final outcome in the home opener.

"They were flying. They had a good game. Their neutral zone trap was giving us a little problem at first. They knew we had a back-to-back, and they came at us pretty hard," explained Drouin, regarding the Red Wings' effort. "Sometimes in the game we answered and we skated well, but there were some moments we didn't and we gave them chances."

Carey Price, meanwhile, made 30 saves in the Canadiens' first regulation defeat of the season - including several stops of the highlight-reel variety.

Video: DET@MTL: Price knocks down Athanasiou's breakaway bid

Enjoying the moment

Even though Thursday night's game didn't end with the Habs picking up two points in the standings, it was still a memorable affair for youngster Nick Suzuki.

It's safe to say that taking part in the pre-game festivities was extra special.

"It's great to be back on home ice for the first game. The crowd was awesome," said Suzuki, who logged 16:30 of ice time and chipped in with four hits. "The opening ceremonies were really cool to be a part of. We didn't get the result, but we'll just move on to the next game."

The 20-year-old London, ON native was also fortunate enough to have his parents, Rob and Amanda, in the stands to watch his official Bell Centre debut.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Rob et Amanda Suzuki sont au Centre Bell pour voir Nick. Bienvenue! 👪Rob and Amanda Suzuki are in the house tonight to watch @nsuzuki_37. Welcome!#GoHabsGo

As for the choral rendition of "Hallelujah" and the national anthems, both were nothing short of brilliant.

Video: DET@MTL: Choir performs "Hallelujah" at home opener

Video: DET@MTL: Choir performs national anthems

There really isn't anything quite like a home opener at the Bell Centre!

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