It's one thing to look at an 0-2-1 preseason record and start to panic. It's another to look at it and shrug your shoulders completely and say "meh, it's just preseason." Although this is true, the point to preseason games is to create a competitive atmosphere for players and teams to put their skills and systems to the test, and to hopefully do so in a positive, winning environment. So far, the Habs have been outplayed handily when you look at their inability to get shots through to the net. It's not at a point in the season where you want to dissect systems, but the Habs have put up 152 shot attempts (and have allowed only 13 more against), but have only hit the net 68 times over the course of the last three games while having given up 104 shots to their opponents.
Maybe a rematch with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a Saturday night in Toronto is exactly what the Habs need to jumpstart some form of cohesion. There have been good individual efforts within each of the three games, with Michael McCarron making a solid statement for himself by scoring the Canadiens' opening goal in the first preseason game, or with Zack Kassian showing us his good skating stride and ability to find the back of the net in the two games he has been featured in.
As of today, 17 players were assigned to St. Johns including Tim Bozon, Zachary Fucale, Ryan Johnston and Brett Lernout, who were each in the lineup at some point over the last three games. With the crop of players at camp cut down, we may see a more focused team tonight in Toronto.
The Habs will be icing a roster with a couple of notable competitions taking place for spots on the opening night roster. Both Kassian and Devante Smith-Pelly will be in the lineup again tonight, possibly competiting for a spot on the fourth line when the season starts October 7th. As well, 25-year-old Needham, Massachusetts native Mike Condon is slotted to tend the net for the entire game, signalling a possible competition for the backup spot with Dustin Tokarski.
The Leafs have been playing a good preseason campaign, with their first loss in the four games they've played thus far coming last night to the Buffalo Sabres. They will be icing some of their top players, with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak both listed to play in tonight's game.
The puck drops at 7:30 PM EDT.
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter/ NHL Center Ice
Leafs line v Habs tonight: JVR-Bozak-Setoguchi Matthias-Holland-Boyes Hyman-Nylander-Komarov Glencross-Froese-Kapanen— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 26, 2015
Leafs D v Habs: Gardiner-Robidas Marincin-Polak Brennan-Fraser Reimer/Sparks— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 26, 2015
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