Habs vs Sens Game Recap: IceCaps Triumphant
A minute thirty of work was all it took for a glorified AHL team to beat the Sens.
A sleepy Saturday afternoon saw the Canadiens’ fourth line veterans and rookies triumph over the Ottawa Senators.
As is tradition, Pageau had a scoring chance right off the opening face off, but it would be Paul Byron putting away a behind-the-net pass from Torrey Mitchell who opened the scoring at 00:37 into the first.
As one of a very small handful of veterans, Byron had quite a good game overall, even singlehandedly hounding three Sens in their own end on the first penalty kill of the game.
Mitchell, who had been having a really solid game, got an accidental stick to the face, and did not return, playing a mere 3:04.
Neither the Habs nor the Sens looked particularly good on their respective power plays, although in contrast to last year’s power play, even with this roster, the puck movement and creativity shown were promising.
The Habs’ penalty kill, boasting seasoned hands on the blue line such as Noah Juulsen (0 NHL games), Philip Samuelson (13 NHL games) and Ryan Johnston (3 NHL games) was effective, and Jeremy Gregoire even got in all alone short handed, and though he didn’t get off a shot before he was caught, it was still a good showing on the penalty kill.
Bobby Farnham and Ryan Dzingel had a brief exchange of hostilities at the buzzer, and the first period ended 1-0 Habs.
With the Habs short handed on Farnham’s double minor, Mike Hoffman opened the second period with a lethal shot that beat Montoya clean.
The second period wasn’t a good one for the Habs, all things considered. Montoya looked a little shaky, and they gave up a second goal to the Senators before the ten minute mark. Though the rest of the period was fairly uneventful, there were a few standouts. Paul Byron displayed his wheels, dashing straight past the Sens defence, though he was unable to finish with quite the same élan.
Scherbak and Hudon both had good moments, the former even going so far as to intercept a pass from Erik Karlsson and convert it into a grade A scoring chance.
At the end of two, however, the score was 2-1, advantage Sens.
The Habs opened the third frame on the power play, but had their worst man-advantage outing of the game.
Nothing of particular note occurred until Michael McCarron had a shot at about ten minutes in, getting behind Karlsson to do so, which sounds a great deal more impressive than it was, as Karlsson was clearly in preseason mode all game, and not really skating.
With just under a minute left, the Habs pulled Montoya, and called a time out. Kirk Muller drew up some plans, and moments later, Flynn received a nice little pass from Byron which he tipped it into Hammond’s open net to force overtime.
46 seconds into three-on-three overtime, Byron, whose fingers were all over this game, made a crisp pass to Phillip Danault, who made his shot behind Hammond’s shoulder look ridiculously easy.
And so it was that the Habs’ ragtag crew of fourth liners and rookies beat the Ottawa Senators.
- Speaking of the kids, Jeremy Gregoire had a good game, with a number of solid chances in every period, and none of the frustrating penalties we’ve seen of him in the past.
- Although Audette, Hudon, Juulsen, and their line/pairing mates got hemmed in their own end for a long shift in the third, they were largely able to keep the puck on the perimeter - an encouraging sign from an young bunch.
- Byron, Mitchell, Flynn and Danault in any combination have the potential to give the Habs very good depth support and scoring, all the while providing strong defensive play.
- Noah Juulsen was third in ice time among defacemen, and looked good, when noticeable, which is exactly what you want to see in a rookie blueliner. He’s not flashy or exciting, but he is dependable.
- Al Montoya did not inspire me with a great deal of confidence, which is going to make for an interesting last few preseason games. To my mind, Lindgren may well have leapfrogged both Condon and Montoya in the depth chart./