About last night … Canadiens edge Vegas 5-4

Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty checks Canadiens’ Jeff Petry at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS

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This team …

The Canadiens played a horrible first period on home ice. Outshot 15-4 by Las Vegas and outscored 2-0.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the home team — riding their first two-game losing streak of the season — spent the first 20 minutes sucking hard.

If this were last season’s team, game over.

Vegas would have romped.

Max Pacioretty would have bagged a hat trick. Marc-André Fleury would have pitched a shutout. Ryan Reaves would have pounded the stuffing out of somebody in a red jersey.

And the Canadiens would have limped off to their Western Canada road trip trailing a lot of doubts and the steadily swelling suspicion that this season’s team reminds fans of last season’s team.

A Comment from Curly Howie, on the Liveblog, summed up the early anxiety:

The fantasy of October is turning into the dark, harsh reality of November.

But a funny thing happened on the way to despair.

Charles Hudon beat Fleury to get the Canadiens on the board six minutes into the second period. Andrew Shaw scored the first of his two goals 65 seconds later.

And just like that, we had a hockey game that in no way resembled what we saw a year ago.

Mike Bossy, on the TVA Sports postgame show, said the attitude of the Canadiens had changed from the team we saw a year ago.

“The character of the Canadiens changed with the new players who are here,” the Hall of Fame sniper added. “We’ve said since the beginning of the season, it’s a much better team without Pacioretty and Galchenyuk.”

Can’t dispute that … although Pacioretty — honoured in a classy pre-game video — had a brilliant homecoming that included nine shots on goal. Into the second period, the dear departed captain was outshooting the Canadiens.

But that dominance didn’t last.

The Canadiens found their skating game. Jonathan Drouin played brilliantly, as did Tomas Tatar (called a “hockey warrior” by Claude Julien in his postgame press conference), Artturi Lehkonen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Andrew Shaw, Max Domi and, on the back end, Jeff Petry, David Schlemko … well, everyone on D except Jordie Benn.

Eleven names on the scoresheet … including Kenny Agostino.

And Antti Niemi made key saves … which begs the question:

Who starts in nets for the Canadiens on Tuesday night in Edmonton?