clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Canadiens vs Devils recap: Some bright spots outshine the result

New, comments

The first line of Artturi Lehkonen, Brendan Gallagher, and Alex Galchenyuk looked great.

NHL: Preseason-New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

So the Montreal Canadiens opened their season with a 3-2 loss against the New Jersey Devils, but like any pre-season game there are certain things that are a lot more important than the score.

Image credit: HockeyStats.ca

The Habs opened the scoring in the first period when the line of Markus Eisenschmid, Daniel Audette, and Nikita Scherbak put together some great passing and Eisenschmid found himself alone in front, roofing the puck over Devils goaltender Scott Wedgewood.

That goal was sandwiched by two great shifts by the Habs first line of Artturi Lehkonen, Brendan Gallagher, and Alex Galchenyuk. They had several scoring chances in what was a dominant opening 10 minutes by the team. But more on them later.

The Devils bounced back 11:19 into the first period on the power play. Adam Henrique scored one on Mike Condon, with Jacob de la Rose in the box for holding the stick.

The shots were 16-7 Montreal after one, but the score was tied.

New Jersey took the lead 10:52 into the second period when Henrique scored his second of the game past Condon, again on the power play. The puck found Henrique alone at the right circle and he fired a snap shot past the Habs goaltender. It was the final shot Condon would face in his half-game of action. In all, Condon made eight saves on 10 shots.

Charlie Lindgren came in to replace Condon and, allowed one goal on 17 shots. He looked very good, including on this save in the third period off former Hab Devante Smith-Pelly .

The goal Lindgren allowed was scored by 2016 12th-overall pick Michael McLeod, who jumped on a loose rebound at the side of the net to score in his first professional game.

The Canadiens would make the game close with just over three minutes remaining, with Sven Andrighetto skating around the Devils’ net to find Zach Redmond at the circle. His first shot was blocked but he followed up and scored on Mackenzie Blackwood.

Montreal had a chance to tie the game and pulled Lindgren late. With just over a minute remaining, Smith-Pelly was given a misconduct and sent to the locker room early, but the Canadiens weren’t able to take advantage of the situation and score the tying goal.

Thoughts

  • Artturi Lehkonen is NHL-ready. He may not stay on the first line, but there is no doubt that he can contribute at this level immediately. Yes, it’s a pre-season game against only a few actual NHL players, but not anyone can step on the ice and not look out of place with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. The line was over 70 percent Corsi-for at even strength, and Lehkonen alone had nine shots on goal.
  • Zach Redmond is scoring goals and looking really good so far in the pre-season. As a right-handed shot, I wouldn’t be surprised if he moves ahead of Greg Pateryn on the Canadiens third pairing. He had another goal last night, and any offence coming from the Habs blue line is a huge positive.
  • The line of Eisenschmid-Audette-Scherbak looked very good. They aren’t going to play in the NHL this season, but that can be a very solid line in the AHL, and they all have some potential that can see them make it at the NHL level eventually. They have work to do, but there were encouraging signs.
  • Noah Juulsen is in his first full camp after battling injuries last year and missing a lot of camp. He played well today and showed why he could be a part of Team Canada at the World Juniors this year.
  • Yury Alexandrov is a tryout at camp, and he looked OK in his first action. He has an uphill battle to make the team, and it will be interesting to see if he gets a contract; and if he does, whether he’d go to the AHL.

The Canadiens are back in action tonight against the Washington Capitals, where it is expected that Andrew Shaw, Alexander Radulov, Philip Samuelsson, and Al Montoya will see their first action with the team. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. EDT at the Bell Centre.