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Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs Top Six Minutes: Kaiden Guhle is great, but you knew that

Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Some fairly surprising cuts of Joshua Roy and Owen Beck today, who I thought would stick around until the end of pre-season at least. Beck in particular is on his way back to Junior, where he will need to remain for the full season (barring the dire emergency recall situation that allowed him to make his debut a year ago). Things are getting more serious now for the NHL roster with just two pre-season games remaining after this one.

First period

  • A TSN broadcast with Mike Johnson on a Saturday night is much better than a Sportsnet broadcast with Garry Galley on a Saturday night.
  • Cole Caufield comes close to scoring the first of his two goals just 20 seconds into the game. There’s a buzz every time he touches the puck, even in a Bell Centre that sits half full.
  • Nice shift from the Kirby Dach line, and that’s encouraging.
  • A great defensive breakup from Kaiden Guhle and I need to stop noting those because they happen all the time.
  • Mattias Norlinder rushes to the net and gets a shot from close range. That is notable and hopefully he’s allowed to keep playing that way in Laval.
  • I think there have already been more chances than we had in the entirety of Friday’s game.
  • Guhle uses his reach to … right, not doing that anymore.
  • Matthew Knies scores again. Samuel Montembeault was a bit slow moving across to his post, which isn’t something you see often.
  • The two lines that should largely make up Montreal’s top six this season are looking strong tonight.
  • William Trudeau follows up a Slafkovský rush, makes a deke and puts a puck off Martin Jones’s blocker. one more positive impression in a training camp full of them.
  • Caufield has had about five attempts, though I don’t think any of them have hit the net yet. Soon.
  • Emil Heineman ends a power-play chance for Toronto by bursting through the defence on a short-handed rush. That’s about as effective as you can be on a PK shift.
  • Norlinder looks great while on the ice with Nick Suzuki and Caufield. Nice work to join a rush at four-on-four.
  • A 14-shot period is much more fun than the five or six we saw a night ago.

Second period

  • Guhle blasts a shot from the point that just misses the net and pounds the glass. Close to a great top-corner goal (talking about his offence is fine).
  • Slafkovský gets a breakaway and pulls off a series of dekes, but Jones gets the bottom of his skate blade on the puck to keep it out.
  • Now the Canadiens are realizing they can stress this Leafs defence with more stretch passes.
  • Good effort from Norlinder to keep himself between the net and his man and guide him into the wall and out of danger.
  • Guhle falls trying to clear a puck on the penalty kill but gets up while fighting for possession and clears it down the ice. That was special teams, so it’s fine.
  • Suzuki tries to throw a reverse hit to help his breakout, but misses the mark, glances off a shoulder and slides to the boards, leaving the puck in the middle of the ice. Toronto capitalizes on a two-on-zero to make the score the same. Just the eighth shot of the night for the Leafs versus Montreal’s 20.
  • It’s time for a power play.
  • And Norlinder comes out on the first wave. This camp is helping to boost the defenceman’s confidence, which is good to see.
  • But he does miss a pass back to the point after a 90-second shift and has to labour back to his own zone while out of gas.
  • There are times when the Canadiens are moving the puck around quickly that I have to count to make sure there are only five players on the ice. An active defence will do that.
  • It seems the refs have been instructed to call more goalie interference when players contact them on offensive rushes, and that perfectly fine. We don’t need to see players crashing into the netminders.
  • Now on the power play, it looks like the Habs have four players.
  • Slafkovský is taking too much time to get the puck off his stick on the power play.
  • After serving his two minutes, Robertson comes out of the box and beats the goaltender he ran into two minutes earlier.
  • I’m looking forward to Monday when the Habs will only have to play Toronto’s big-name forwards instead of these guys who actually try.

Third period

  • With a 3-0 deficit, Jakub Dobes comes on for the third period. This will probably be his only action before he himself makes his way to Laval for AHL training camp.
  • He takes no chances on his first touch freezing a puck with no Leaf within 30 feet. Whatever it takes to get the feel.
  • Rafaël Harvey-Pinard draws a penalty, and I have mixed feelings about that.
  • Newhook hits the post.
  • Suzuki gives up another turnover on the power play and has to fight to prevent another short-handed rush. He hasn’t been the sharpest in possession this game.
  • Dach gets hit in the face and is bleeding. The call is being challenged to see if it actually was a high stick, and I’m not convinced it wasn’t Martin St-Louis who asked for the challenge.
  • The power play needs more Joshua Roy. Or less Alex Burrows.
  • Is this better than last night’s game? Did I lie to you yesterday when I said it would be? Do I have to provide some kind of refund?
  • Apparently they asked Toronto’s stars at the start of training camp if they wanted to play hockey and they said no, so that’s something.
  • Guhle collects a puck following a short-handed offensive-zone faceoff win, dances around Knies and scores. An excellent (non-defensive) play.
  • That’s all the offence the Habs get, falling 3-1.