Sunday, September 25, 2011

24/09/11: Ottawa 3, Montreal 2; Sens dish out revenge

Playing with a line-up that included minimal vets, the Canadiens were surprisingly effective for half of last night's game, taking a 2-0 lead. But just as they had overcome a 3-0 deficit to Ottawa the night prior, the Sens came roaring back, snapping a 2-2 tie on a Chris Neil goal on the powerplay with about 30 seconds to play to steal the win.

The positives? (other than the fact that it's still only preseason) Carey Price continues to show slow and steady progress, looking better every time he takes to the goal. Though his back-up Peter Budaj will go the distance tonight, there should be little doubt Price will be ready for a date with the Leafs in October.

Mike Cammalleri looks to have gained a bit in footspeed this off-season, looking quick throughout preseason and netting a pair in this one to pace the team. Also contributing offensively was Aaron Palushaj. Yes, you read that right. Aaron Palushaj. Hello Mr Palushaj and welcome to training camp. You've shown up 2 weeks late, but better late than never.

Gabriel Dumont turned in another solid performance, playing with more offensive wingers. Certainly the Canadiens would rather have Andreas Engqvist in the line-up for size reasons, but based on play and merit, Dumont should have a lead on him in the fourth line center battle right now. The decision is likely to come down to the wire over the last few preseason games, and as we get a better idea on the health of David Desharnais, Lars Eller, and Ryan White.

Olivier Archambault showed some nice offensive creativity at times in his preseason debut, though for now, he can be regarded as a long-term project at best.

Nathan Beaulieu led all Montreal blueliners with close to 23 minutes of ice time. While he was perhaps less noticeable than in his first game, he again showed to be a great skater and have tremendous sense and confidence with the puck. Certainly a future fixture on the Habs back end. Mark Mitera, getting his first preseason action, played the fewest minutes at 16:14 but didn't look out of place, with a couple of strong plays defensively and even picking up assists on both goals.

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