The Montreal Canadiens came into Tuesday night’s tilt with the Toronto Maple Leafs at 2-2 on the pre-season, if you care about that practice record. It sure felt like the Leafs care more about theirs, as they absolutely dismantled the Habs 6-2.
Welcome to your Bottom Six Minutes for perhaps the worst game of the pre-season so far.
The Leafs were curiously matching lines to ensure that stars like John Tavares, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner played against AHL players like Alex Belzile, Michael Pezzetta, and Raphael Harvey-Pinard. It definitely worked, but seems an odd strategy to prepare elite players by
Ryan Poehling, an AHL player last year, faired pretty well in an ugly loss. He is quietly making a case for the spot as his team’s fourth line centre, and it may be his spot to lose at this point. He didn’t exactly turn heads in this particular game, but in that ugly of a loss, not standing out too much is probably for the better.
Elsewhere in the lineup, Alexander Romanov looked pretty good, and appears ready to take the next step in his NHL career. Kaiden Guhle also looked good and just might be making a case to stick around for those nine games he’s allowed to have before burning a year of his ELC.
Finally, keep in mind we’re talking about practice here. There is one more practice game on Thursday evening against the Senators, and then we will start with games for which we can actually be mad if they go this poorly.
For now, nothing to worry about.