Mike Cammalleri scored a couple, but in the end, 28 seconds in fact, the Ottawa Senators took some sweet revenge after blowing a three-goal lead the night before, and the Ottawans strutted back to their dressing room with a 3-2 win.
So instead of the Canadiens making their pre-season two wins and two losses, they now stand at one win and three losses.
But that’s fine. All in all, it’s been great fun to see so many young guys wearing the CH and playing their hearts out during their cup of coffee in the bigs. Some guys, though, might be having more than just a cup of coffee.
Aaron Palushaj was the guy tonight. He assisted on both of Cammy’s goals, and his second assist was a great example of quick thinking as he got the puck up to a streaking Cammalleri who waltzed in alone and bulged the twine.
But it was much more than once when Palushaj impressed. He was playing as if he belonged on the big club, handling the puck with confidence, and finishing his checks in a way that had to make the coaching staff smile. Palushaj managed three games with the Habs last season, and I’m sure he’s set on obliterating that figure in early October.
It’s been a treat so far to see these young players play in Habs colours. Brendan Gallagher the other night, Raphael Diaz before that. Tonight, Palushaj. These are huge games for these fellows, and regardless of how it works out for them, these days as they don the Habs jersey are days they’ll remember and recall all of their lives.
Huge nights for all them. And this is how I’m going to feel that first night when I’m behind the bench as stick boy. A night to remember. Like Diaz and Gallagher and Palushaj and others feel now.
Any kind of relaxation the players enjoyed during the summer has now become a distant memory as they hop on a plane and head out to Halifax to meet the Bruins on Sunday. Then it’s back to Montreal on Monday to say hello again to the Bruins.
Four straight, then they wait until Thursday before they play again when Tampa comes to town.
This pre-season schedule almost doesn’t seem right.