Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs game recap: Habs close out pre-season with commanding 6-1 win

The news guys came to play in Carey Price’s return to the team.

In their final tune-up before the regular season begins, the Montreal Canadiens iced the majority of what is likely to be their opening night roster, sans Max Pacioretty and Paul Byron, who were out with illness.

With a select few spots still up for grabs, both Andrew Shaw and Michael McCarron made an early impact to try and cement their place in the lineup. Shaw pounced on a Mikhail Sergachev shot and wrapped the puck around the net and past a sprawling Fredrik Andersen.  McCarron used Morgan Rielly as a screen and fired a goal through Andersen to double Montreal’s advantage just moments later.

Of course, the most recent first-overall draft pick finally made his presence felt, wiring a perfect shot past Carey Price to cut the lead in half.

The second period was all Habs, with Shaw picking up his second goal of the night less than two minutes in. David Desharnais was given an eternity to set up behind the net and fed Shaw the puck for an easy goal.

Not wanting to be left out, Shea Weber — the “Man Mountain” himself — wristed a seemingly harmless shot past Andersen, increasing the lead to three goals.

Carey Price made his presence felt by robbing Nazem Kadri of a prime scoring chance with a gorgeous blocker save to keep it at a comfortable lead heading into the intermission.

The third period was more of the same as the Habs piled on with a pair of gorgeous goals courtesy of Alex Galchenyuk and Artturi Lehkonen to coast to a 6-1 victory. Galchenyuk’s goal was an absolute thing of beauty as he dished a pass to Alexander Radulov, who, from his knees, returned it with a perfect pass. Throw in a dangle around a few Toronto defenders and the puck was behind Andersen for a true highlight-reel play.

Lehkonen was a lot more direct with his goal, grabbing a pass from the outside of the faceoff circle, pausing, and then uncorking one of the slickest wrist shots I’ve seen in recent years. His release and the speed of the puck fooled everyone, and it ended up in and out of the top of the net in the blink of an eye.

That proved to be the final tally of the night, as the Canadiens left the Bell Centre crowd happy, heading home after their team’s 6-1 win.


  • The best takeaway from tonight’s game has to be that the Canadiens hung up six goals, with relative ease, without their best forward. Taking a thirty-goal scorer out of the lineup typically throws a wrench into things, and yet tonight the Habs’ offence rolled on like a well-oiled machine. Perhaps, even more important is that the goals came from multiple lines and players, with Shaw, McCarron, Galchenyuk, Lehkonen, and Weber notching goals.
  • The remaining roster battles have also been reignited. Jeff Petry left the game with an undisclosed injury after falling along the boards. Not only does this open a spot for Sergachev, but if it forces Petry to miss any significant time, Zach Redmond and Greg Pateryn can now battle for an increased role on the blue line.
  • After Carr did all he could to assure himself of a spot with a great goal against the Bruins, Michael McCarron put his name in the hat by continuing his dominant pre-season with yet another goal.
  • There are still a few roster choices to make, and, quite frankly, there isn’t a single option that can hamper this team. The core players look regular-season ready. Price looks like his calm, collected self in net. The new additions are gelling nicely in the lineup, even as it shifts around with new linemates. And a new power-play system had shown more promise than we’ve seen in several seasons./

There’s a lot to be excited about, so let’s kick off the real deal, eh? Puck drop of the Habs’ 2016-17 season takes place on Thursday night, when the team travels to Buffalo to get proceedings underway.

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