Preseason: Ottawa 6, Montreal 1 (Scotiabank Place)
posted by Rocket at AllHabs
It is both thrilling and sometimes amusing to live in a hockey hotbed like Montreal. It's especially amusing when the "sky-is-falling" types start hyperventilating over the coach, goaltending, and team size in SEPTEMBER.
Relax. It's preseason, folks.
For Jacques Martin and his staff, it's a time to evaluate their players in a game situation and experiment with different line combinations.
But, let's face it, with the exception of very few spots, the Canadiens roster is set. For those players on the bubble, it's their opportunity to prove they deserve to stay. Hamilton-bound players want a chance to showcase their value to the big league coaching staff. So preseason games are often characterized by individualistic efforts.
The Canadiens were certainly not playing like a team tonight. After a good start, their play was disorganized. The Habs took too many penalties, gave up too many odd-man rushes, and overall looked lethargic.
Two areas may be causes for some concern. Special teams were once again weak. Secondly, the players don't seem to have bought in to coach Martin's system, or perhaps they don't yet understand it.
After the game, the coach singled out the play of Ryan White, the center who had 29 points last season with the Bulldogs. Mikael Johansson caught my eye with his play despite limited ice time. Johansson was the surprise standout of the Habs rookie camp, in my opinion.
Max Pacioretty continues to show consistent effort on every shift. Sergei Kostitsyn showed flashes of speed. Jaroslav Spacek got his first goal wearing bleu, blanc, et rouge.
Other than that, it was a rather quiet night for the rest of the Canadiens, including Scott Gomez and Mike Cammalleri.
It was not a stellar night for the goaltending tandem of Carey Price and Cedric Desjardins, but they didn't have much help.
Max Lapierre once again proved that he cannot play well with anyone other than Guillaume Latendresse (who didn't play) and vice-versa.
It was another tough game for Shawn Belle, who was caught out of position on several occasions.
Eric Neilson may have been the talk of Friday's game, but his three dumb penalties reminded why he is a career minor-leaguer.
Alex Kovalev, who switched between the two teams in the offseason, deserves mention for his short-handed goal. Fellow Senator Mike Fisher was the first star of the game with four points.
The Canadiens will take a bus ride to Quebec City for their game against the Bruins in the Colisee on Sunday night.
PK Subban was scratched from the lineup with a foot injury sustained during the morning skate. Chad Anderson took his place.
Official three stars
1. Mike Fisher
2. Peter Regin
3. Pascal Leclaire
(photo credit: Getty images