Tuesday, September 27, 2011

26/09/11: Boston 2, Montreal 1; can preseason end already?

Just because preseason losses are meaningless, doesn't mean we can't get tired of losing. On the bright side, there were a number of inspired performances from a Montreal Canadiens team dressing 6 NHL regulars vs. a Boston Bruins team that played 10.

Brendan Gallagher: We'll start with the guy who has been one of the team's most dangerous forwards in almost every game he has played. Gallagher impressed again last night, generating more chances, driving the net with reckless abandon, showing nice hands, and yes, hitting more goalposts. Honestly I feel bad. Perhaps saying Gallagher had Chris Higgins-itis on day 1 of rookie camp was a jinx, cause this is exactly how it has played out. By virtue of having outplayed the likes of Aaron Palushaj and Andreas Engqvist, the little Giant deserves to stick around. If there are injuries at forward to start the season, the Habs lose nothing in signing Gallagher and playing him 5 or 6 games, given that his contract doesn't kick in unless he hits the 10 game mark (which he won't).

Michael Bournival: Slow-ish start, but strong overall game for Bournival, just returning to action from a minor injury. Looked better and better as the game went on, showing good skating ability and some offensive creativity. Wasn't cut after the game, so may get a second chance to impress on Thursday.

Philip DeSimone: Undoubtedly his best game thus far. He has looked pretty good going all the way back to rookie camp, and to me, has earned at least an AHL deal. Awesome move on the Cammalleri goal, but strong all night in generating a number of chances. He's off to Hamilton's camp tomorrow, but he shouldn't have trouble inking a contract.

Gabriel Dumont: Continues to surprise. Plays with tons of energy and forechecks hard. Lacks a little defensive awareness / could improve coverage in his own end, but a useful fourth liner who has as good a shot as any of sticking around into October.

Raphael Diaz: Another player with his best outing of training camp, though with the signing of Chris Campoli, there doesn't appear to be any place for him to start the season. Looked more confident with the puck, making some nice plays in the offensive zone.

Jarred Tinordi: Also looked much better last night, delivering a number of big hits and putting up a solid performance in his own end. Though his 17 minutes were least amongst Habs blueliners, and he is still a few years away, he showed glimpses of the kind of player the Canadiens hope he develops to be.

Carey Price: His best performance of the preseason to date, meaning he has gotten better every time he has been in goal. Very encouraging sign for him being ready to start the year on a good note.

Frederic St. Denis: Quietly, another surprise of camp. He has looked very steady in his own end, making few mistakes, and, despite his very average size, looking strong enough to contain larger players. There's no room for him right now, but with another year of development in Hamilton, could conceivably challenge for a job next Fall.

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