A better game than their preseason debut, especially considering the Montreal Canadiens fielded a team laced with unlikely season opening players, and the Buffalo Sabres had most of what we will see come October.
The eager Habs kiddie corps took advantage of customs delayed Sabres team, and the veterans gave it a strong effort to the end in a 3-1 loss to the visitors. The Sabres edged the home team 25-24 in shots.
P.K. Subban anchored the Canadiens defense, and scored the lone goal to the delight of the Bell Centre crowd.
Scoring summary from NHL.com
Most important for Habs fans was the return of Max Pacioretty and Josh Gorges, playing on the Bell Centre ice for the first time since recovering from neck and knee injuries respectively.
Gorges clearly showed he hasn't lost a step on his rebuilt knee, and has adapted to his new skating stride. Pacioretty racked up 23:19 of ice time, taking his lumps and dishing out three hits and a team leading 6 shots.
The Habs return to Brossard on Thursday and return to preseason action Friday as they visit the Ottawa Senators.
The power play showed some promise, but couldn't seem to finish. No fear, as the units had just components of what we'll see in the regular season.
Face-offs were an overall problem, a couple players aside. The Habs were 43% and the team centers were waived out on several occasions.
While some of the up and comers played a solid game, two who are on the bubble between Montreal and Hamilton (Andreas Engqvist and Aaron Palushaj) seemed to show a lack of effort at a time when they needed to step up.
Robert Mayer looked weak on the Christian Ehrhoff goal that proved to be the winner.
Scott who? Yes it's preseason and just a single game, but David Desharnais' heart had him playing like he deserved to be a top-six forward. Depending on the injury to Scott Gomez, DD could see more time centering Pacioretty and Brian Gionta. Both Pacioretty and Desharnais have mentioned in the past that they enjoyed playing on a line together in Hamilton.
Nathan Beaulieu made an impressive debut in a Habs uniform, and showed many of the traits that led to the Canadiens drafting him in the first round in 2011."He's a young player, a great skater with excellent vision," said Habs coach Jacques Martin. "It's good to see that in a young player ."
Beaulieu had his moments of tentativeness, notably on the Pominville goal, but as the coach noted that will come along as he progresses. Many were saying the same thing about Subban two years ago.
Brendan Gallagher said earlier this week that he is at camp to get a contract. He certainly earned points tonight, playing an aggressive game from start to finish. "
Peter Budaj faced 15 shots, conceding a single goal to a wide open Jason Pominville.
Anyone know what Phil Desimone did on the ice for 8:43?