For the first time this preseason, the Montreal Canadiens had a lead in a game. It was all for naught however as Ottawa took advantage of two egregious mistakes made by the officials to key the comeback and score the winner. That a game was blown be officiating gave this one a bit of the feel of a regular season game, but the excitement level was about zero.
Scoring summary from NHL.com
After an absolute snoozer of a 1st period, Cammalleri tipped a Mitera shot past Robin Lehner, and 2:49 later capitalized on a breakaway chance set up by Palushaj.
After a borderline hit by Chris Neil on Beaulieu, the 18 year old made a rookie mistake in trying to pinch when the play wasn't there, which resulted in an odd man rush and goal for the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately the officials didn't notice that Stephane Da Costa was a good 5 feet offside on the play. Continuing is solid night, Neil then tied the game, then scored the winner the second Brian Gionta got out of the box after being called for a weak slash.
Three Gabriel Dumont: 1) Chris Neil 2) Michael Cammalleri 3)
Jeff Woywitka continues to disappoint. While scouting reports praised his skating, he looks very slow to loose pucks, isn't physical at all, loses most of his battles, and generally looks lost. The chances of Woywitka making the team with Weber, Yemelin and Diaz also vying for the job is very slim.
After a good start in his first game this preseason, Brock Trotter has all but disappeared. I still think he's physically and mentally more mature than the players he's battling for the 13th forward spot, but he needs to show something ASAP or he'll be toiling away in Hamilton, or traded.
In his first game action, Philippe Lefebvre took a lazy tripping penalty and recorded the lowest ice-time of anyone on the Habs at just 7:21.
Phil DeSimone was given a huge chance tonight, playing 16:12 overall. Unfortunately he was -2 and struggled to handle the puck whenever there was traffic. There's still a remote chance that DeSimone gets a shot in Hamilton this year, but if anything he'll probably be sent to the ECHL.
While Nathan Beaulieu continues to impress, he showed a few warts tonight in mishandling the puck on the powerplay and making poor pinching choices after he got rocked by Neil. That being said, I think Beaulieu is ahead of where P.K. Subban was when P.K. spent his first year in Hamilton. Beaulieu also led the team in ice-time for the second time this preseason with 22:54
I wouldn't worry too much about it, but Tomas Plekanec just doesn't look right so far in the preseason. He seems a little behind the play and he's fighting the puck a little bit.
Ian Schultz may be the newest name on the injured list after he went to the dressing room in the 3rd period following an innocent looking collision.
In spite of the loss, Carey Price looks like he's rounding into form.
Mike Cammalleri had the goal scorer's touch tonight. He looked like he wanted it and fired 7 of Montreal's 24 shots.
Considering how poor of a training camp he's had, one mistake (a giveaway that eventually led to a goal) isn't enough for me to say Mark Mitera had a bad night. He nabbed 2 assists tonight, including the primary one on the game's opening goal. He also displayed quite the adept passing skill, several times sending out long bombs tape to tape to clear the zone.
Aaron Palushaj finally had a good game for the Habs. Unlike his first two preseason games, he didn't shy away from contact when making a play. He still had trouble winning puck battles but he managed to grab assists on both goals, and his backhand pass to Cammalleri to set up the breakaway goal was a thing of beauty. Finally Engqvist has some competition.
Josh Gorges is looking great out there. His surgically repaired knee is obviously paying dividends as his skating stride looks better than ever. His defensive awareness and heads up play is so apparent right now, it's hard to imagine how the Canadiens survived without him last year.
Olivier Archambault really surprised fans who didn't know what to expect. What they got was silky smooth hands and deceptive quickness. It seemed that whenever Archambault was on the ice, good things were happening for Montreal. Not only did he look skilled, when he was challenged he hit right back. It's possible that Trevor Timmins has found another steal in the same vein as Brendan Gallagher with this one.