The Montreal sports teams did not have a good weekend. The Impact lost 2-1 at home against Columbus. The Alouettes had the butts kicked in B.C. against the Lions. Montreal Canadiens lost 5-4 in shootout against the Buffalo Sabres and then on Monday night they lost 6-3 against the Boston Bruins. While the Als and Impact losses were more serious, the Habs’ two losses came in their first two preseason games. Borrowing a line from Carey Price a couple of seasons ago “It is only preseason so chill out.” For the most part I agree with Price I did see some worrisome things in Monday night’s game.
First was the fact that things looked very easy for the Bruins. They also had dressed what was largely a preseason line-up but definitely looked like the much more skilled side. For larges stretches of the game it seemed effortless on the Bruins part to dominate the Canadiens. This is evident not on in the one sided score but the fact that Boston outshot Montreal 40-20. It took over 12 minutes for the Canadiens to get their first shot on net and it did not really get any better from that point on.
Second was the fact that the man who is supposed to be the team’s number one goaltender did not have a stellar outing. Carey Price let in 3 goals on 22 shots in 29:09 minutes of play. While there was nothing he could do on the Bruins first goal on the power play by Jerome Iginla (his first goal in a Bruins uniform) the second goal by Nick Johnson was awful. An NHL goalie should not be letting in a medium velocity wrist shot from just inside the blue line with no one in front of him. Especially not one who is in contention to be Canada’s starting goalie for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Even the third goal was not great as he stopped Johnson on a breakaway, but allowed the rebound to get away from him allowing the Bruins’ forward to poke it beyond him.
Third was Montreal’s penalty killing. Granted they did not have Brandon Prust, Tomas Plekanec nor Lars Eller (the team’s top penalty killers) in the lineup, so it is not exactly a fair evaluation, but still they were awful. Boston went 4-for-6 on the power play.
The Canadiens were not the only ones to come away from this game with some question marks in regards to goaltending. The starting netminder for the Bruins was Chad Johnson and he also let in 3 goals, but it was on only 8 shots. Johnson is thought to be the man who is going to be Tuuka Rask’s back up this season and he’ll need to be much better if that is the case.
Defenseman Douglas Murray, forward Christian Thomas and forward Daniel Briere made their first appearances in Montreal Canadiens’ uniforms. Daniel Briere did not stand out, but was involved in a nice tick-tac-toe goal by Max Pacioretty. Another issue for me was the play of Douglas Murray. He really is slow and does not contribute much offensively. I don’t think that his size, which he did not use that much in this game, makes up for his weaknesses. Leaving the game I was thinking that maybe the Canadiens’ money would have been better spent on someone like Ron Hainsey as they were waiting for Alexei Emelin to return to the lineup.
The line of Iginla (seems to have taken Nathan Horton’s place in the Bruins’ lineup), Milan Lucic and David Krejci was a handful for the Canadiens all night. Iginla scored two goals and Krejci one with Lucic playing the role of playmaker and getting 3 assists. I have to admit I was surprised with Lucic’s hands and vision on the ice.
An interesting case of sibling rivalry was a subplot on this evening. Montreal Canadiens’ PK Subban faced his recently drafter brother Malcolm for the first time in the NHL. At this point it is advantage Malcolm as he did not let big brother score or any Habs’ player, for that matter. It seemed as if his team was determined to protect the young goalie as they did not let many shots through to him and only one weak effort by PK.
After the game the Habs’ management made their first set of cuts. Fourteen cuts were made with winger Louis Leblanc being the most surprising name on the list, especially this early. Other cuts included defenseman Morgan Ellis, goalie Zachary Furcale, goalie Robert Mayer, forward Stefan Fournier, and forward Erik Nystrom. The Canadiens’ next game is Friday night in Quebec City against the Carolina Hurricanes. If the team, which is closer to the one that will start the season, does as poorly in their weekend series with the Hurricanes as they did against Boston then it might be time to have your hand hovering over the panic button.
-Referees: Eric Furlatt, Jean Hebert
Linesmen: David Brisebois, Scott Cherrey
-Goals: 1st Period:
8:29: Boston – (pp) Jerome Iginla assisted by Milan Lucic and Torey Krug
12:07: Montreal – Travis Moen assisted by Francis Bouillon and Louis Leblanc
14:20: Boston – Nick Johnson assisted by Ryan Spooner and Matt Bartkowski
1:15: Montreal – (pp) PK Subban assisted by Francis Bouillon and David Desharnais
6:53: Boston – Nick Johnson unassisted
9:09: Montreal – (pp) Max Pacioretty assisted by Daniel Briere and David Desharnais
9:33: Boston – Jerome Iginla assisted by Torey Krug and Milan Lucic
12:31: Boston – (pp) David Krejci assisted by Milan Lucic and Torey Krug
13:52: Boston – (pp) Zach Trotman assisted by Matt Bartkowski
-Shots on Goal: Montreal – 20
Boston – 40
-Three Stars: 3) Max Pacioretty – Montreal
2) Torey Krug – Boston
1) Jerome Iginla – Boston
-Final Score: Montreal – 3
Boston – 6