They kept grabbing the lead and losing it, and when all was said and down, the Canadiens lose 5-4 to Buffalo in the shootout.
And that’s fine. It was prospects night, a lineup laced with guys knowing full-well that they’ll be packing up shortly. It’s all part of the process, and it was night for most regulars to sit and watch and get ready.
In fact, when you look at which regulars from last season played on this night, you see that it was only a handful – Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Brandon Prust, Raphael Diaz, Drew Drewiske, and for the first half of the game, Peter Budaj.
And already, after just a period and a half of the first preseason game, Peter Budaj makes me nervous.
We saw Jarred Tinordi thump and bump and if he stays, we need that kind of physical effort on a nightly basis from him. I’d like to see him get downright mean. We need that from a guy his size. Hal Gill didn’t have that nasty streak and it was too bad.
Michael Bournival netted a pair. Zachary Fucale, replacing Budaj midway, allowed a goal on his first shot but was solid afterwards. Tall and lanky Michael McCarron contributed two assists, and 30-year old Martin St-Pierre played well, was in the thick of things, and contributed a goal and an assist.
The Canadiens had two power play goals on the night – from Erik Nystrom and St-Pierre, and it’s always nice, whether it’s a preseason tilt or a game in February or April, when the team can collect a couple of goals with the man advantage.
Buffalo has a couple of despicable critters in Patrick Kaleta and Steve Ott, and although they were their usual obnoxious selves, we’ll see how they are when George Parros laces ’em up. Brandon Prust tried to have a go at Kaleta but the bastard slinked away before it could happen.
This is a season where the Canadiens cannot be taken advantage of. Throw Tinordi into the mix with Parros, White, Moen, and Prust, and the dynamics change and players like Ott and Kaleta will just be two more roadkill on the Habs road to respectability.
Tomorrow it’s the Bruins at the Bell. It’ll be interesting to see who suits up for the Habs, and it’ll be interesting to see which players get weeded out as preseason goes on. It’s always nice to have the set squad get at least a couple of games in before the real stuff begins.