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Canadiens vs Avalanche recap: Three straight comeback wins for the Habs

The Canadiens have allowed the first goal, trailed after the first period, and won three straight games to open the preseason.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Quebec City, the Canadiens iced a whopping four veterans, and a few guys who count as veterans, against essentially the full lineup of the Colorado Avalanche. The talk going into the game was that it would be a drubbing, especially since Patrick Roy had his team highly motivated to win one in his home town.

What no one was counting on though, was a fantastic performance by Dustin Tokarski, and an NHL-spot-earning game from Jiri Sekac.

The Habs were up against it with so little experience and against Colorado's full lineup, and the Avalanche did manage to score first, towards the end of a powerplay on a pretty soft goal by Erik Johnson, but the goal seemed to steel the youngsters, especially Dustin Tokarski.

Jiri Sekac was absolutely all over the place, creating scoring chances for Sven Andrighetto, skating the puck into the offensive zone, and driving the net with reckless abandon, something he had promised to do more of before the game.

Sekac ultimate turned the tables on Colorado, with the Habs trailing 2-1 in the third period, he pulled a power move to gain the zone, and set himself up in front of the net, eventually taking a pass from Jacob de la Rose and wrapping it around to score on Semyon Varlamov.

With Tokarski continuing to hold the fort, it was David Desharnais springing Brandon Prust, of all players, for a breakaway that would put the Habs ahead for good, winning their third straight comeback victory by a score of 3-2.

Would it be nitpicking at this point to ask for the Habs to score first? Yes. Especially since it's preseason. If you're going to complain about the performance of the team in any way so far you should probably just not, and have some fun. What we can talk about though, is what the Habs hopefuls are doing or could be doing.

Jiri Sekac has made the Habs. Let's be honest here, he always had a leg up, but there wasn't a shift on Friday night where he wasn't the difference maker. He was far and away the best player on the team, with only Tokarski as competition.

Sven Andrighetto has made a compelling case for himself as well, just like Christian Thomas has, but there's really no room for those guys right now, which is an excellent problem to have. Those guys won't hurt from being in AHL a bit longer.

Jacob de la Rose has remained fairly silent in preseason thus far, but he's been creating space for his linemates, and grabbed an assist on Sekac's tying goal.

And of course, there's the feel good story of Tim Bozon, who didn't have a huge impact on the game, but just the fact that he played at all a mere five months after being placed in an artificial coma is phenomenal.

If there's one thing to be negative about coming out of this game, it's that Magnus Nygren appears to be an afterthought with the Canadiens coaching staff, in spite of quite severely outplaying both Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn. I've been watching him extremely closely, and he's been a stud when defending off the rush. And while he struggles a bit when defending against the cycle, so do Pateryn and Tinordi, and he hasn't made the gaffes that they have.

Nygren was solid again on Friday night, but barely saw a minute of powerplay time, with the coaching staff instead favouring Francis Bouillon and Darren Dietz. While Dietz had a pretty solid game, and scored 24 goals his last year of junior, he had zero for the Bulldogs last year.

Meanwhile, Nygren very obviously has the biggest cannon on the team of anyone not named P.K. Subban, but he hasn't been given a chance to unleash it. It doesn't make much sense from any perspective. Even if they want to trade him, you'd think they'd try to pump up his value.

But that's one player, on a huge roster, and it's really a minor complaint. He's still playing, he has a chance. What has stood out more than anything in this preseason is that the Canadiens are much deeper than we initially realized, and as a result this preseason has been remarkably fun.