MONTREAL – It may be rather difficult to draw clear conclusions on the Canadiens camp after this two-game preseason series against the Ottawa Senators.
Dominated by a caliber of the NHL team counting on several regular elements, the day before, Dominique Ducharme’s men responded without too much brilliance in a 2-1 victory over an improved version of the Belleville Senators on Saturday.
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Brendan Gallagher and Nick suzuki have hit the target for the Habs in a match that has served to demonstrate that the veterans of the team – those who have no position to win – are gradually regaining their rhythm.
« We just want to win, » said Gallagher, who was playing in a game opener. We are competitive. The coaches spoke to us after yesterday’s loss (7-2) and we wanted to bounce back. We did it by doing the right things and keeping good habits. We will have to build on this and become more and more comfortable. «
Completed by Tyler toffoli, the trio of the two scorers was the most threatening offensively, without too much surprise. Of the rookies, striker Jesse Ylönen is probably the one who showed the most beautiful ‘flashes’ – especially on a second power play when he narrowly missed a gaping cage.
Faithful to their habits, the old driver Alex Belzile and his compatriot Gabriel Bourque also had a good evening at work. Ducharme knows what he can get from these two hard workers. Looking for a job with the big club, Ryan Poehling has once again been quite low-key, albeit more effective in some aspects.
“I am 30 years old, suggested Belzile. I know what I need to do to be successful; I know my strengths and weaknesses. With the experience I have at this point, I know how to adapt to many different situations by remaining myself. «
The defenders Jeff petry and Alexander Romanov had a blast as they handed out strong lashes to customers who forgot to lift their heads for a moment – youngsters Lassi Thomson and Ridly Greig were their respective victims. Against weaker opposition, Petry flew over the ice and was the spearhead of many forward pushes.
On the other side, Tim stützle has been in every fight and scored in the first period by deflecting the point shot of Erik Brannstrom – another who did well with the Senators. We can’t wait to see what the German striker has in store for us when he finds his usual companions.
Traffic in front of the net
In his second start of the preseason – his first full game – Cayden Primeau was solid, but hesitant at times, in front of the 20 pucks aimed at him. He had to have a good performance since the list of goalkeepers for the organization continued to grow with the addition of Samuel Montembeault through waivers on Saturday.
“It was not an additional motivation, he assured. I am not the one making these decisions. Whenever you have the chance to play, you have to give your all. I’m excited to see another goalie coming into the organization to push us all to be better. «
Video: Canadiens win 2-1 over Senators
The acquisition of the Quebec porter leaves even more doubts about the state of health of Carey Price, ten days before the start of the season. With 25 games of NHL experience, Montembeault could be a little more established assistant for Jake allen, if Price has to be away for a few weeks.
“We have always loved Samuel,” said Ducharme. He’s a young goalie, he’s only 24, and we like his potential. We will see what will happen. We have even more depth in this position. With Carey’s injury, it’s always good to have more options. «
In front of the Senators’ cage, Anton Forsberg gave up once on 18 shots in the first two bouts and Filip Gustavsson recovered well after giving Suzuki a goal on the first shot he faced in the third. He concluded the evening with four saves.
The Habs will have a few days of practice before playing their last two preseason games – against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 5, then two days later against the Senators. The regular season kicks off October 13 in Toronto.
Seven players were cut after the match
– Michael McNiven *
– Laurent Dauphin *
– Brandon Baddock *
– Jean-Sébastien Dea *
– Corey Schueneman
– Tobie Bisson
– Jean-Christophe Beaudin
*These players will have to go through the waivers before reporting to the Laval Rocket training camp.