Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators - Game Recap
Dressing a lineup of mostly AHLers, the Habs got tuned up a little bit by a very strong Senators team.
It's tough to evaluate a game like this one, because everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. On the one hand, a group of AHLers plus Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher hung pretty well with a full NHL roster, however with the roster so heavily favouring Ottawa, I doubt everyone was giving their all.
Coach Michel Therrien seemed to use the game to evaluate players who he hasn't had a chance to test as much during the rest of the preseason, with Martin St. Pierre, Gabriel Dumont, Nathan Beaulieu, and Darren Dietz among the time on ice leaders.
Beaulieu's 26:31 lead both teams in ice time, and his play was more impressive as the game went on. It's unlikely that Beaulieu is able to impress enough to make the club, but with how much Therrien used him last night it's possible that he plays again tonight.
Dietz didn't fair as well, but oddly enough Raphael Diaz without the support of veterans around him seemed to have his best game of the preseason.
Michael Bournival was also tested, with 15:14 TOI in tough minutes, just one offensive zone start and five in the defensive zone. He was a -2 on the night, but that's a stat that isn't representative of his play. It's still going to be very tough for Bournival to crack the lineup ahead of veterans like Travis Moen and Ryan White, but it's not inconceivable that if George Parros is out to begin the season, that he could get a couple of games.
The highlight of the game though, was Magnus Nygren's first goal, a patented slapshot on the rush. It was reminiscent of the goal he scored at the rookie scrimmage I attended with Mike in early September.
Nygren still definitely needs some time on the North American sized rink, and he'll get the chance to adjust in Hamilton as there's no rush for him to make the team.
Peter Budaj had a rough night as far as stats go, but with the way the Senators were able to move the puck against the inexperienced Canadiens defense, it's tough for me to blame him for any of it. The entirety of the Habs' defense on the night had 99 NHL regular season games experience. Ottawa? 2731.
It was that kind of game, something that you won't see tonight at the Bell Centre.