MONTREAL — OK, everyone, repeat after me: It’s only the preseason. Nothing that you saw in last night’s 4-2 Bruins victory of the Habs in Montreal means very much.
In a lineup that included Jarred Tinordi, Aaron Palushaj, Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont, and Frederic St. Denis, a loss doesn’t really mean that much.
So while many were lamenting the loss, we have to remember that this kind of game is exactly what the preseason is all about: Practice. Refinement. Testing. Getting into game shape.
The game bore no effect on any potential standings and is, in reality, just a way to showcase the young players while getting the veterans ready for the regular season. So take some deep breaths folks. A preseason loss is nothing to get worked up about.
Boston Scorers: Nathan Horton, Johnny Boychuk, Patrice Bergeron (2).
Habs Scorers: Maxim Lapierre, Tomas Plekanec
– Carey Price had a tough night.
While Tuuka Rask was busy putting on a clinic in the Bruins net—he stopped 36 of 38 shots on the night—Price let in three goals on his first five shots against. While he would ultimately surrender another goal early in the second, shorthanded, Price could scarcely be blamed for the loss.
There is no question that Price would like to have the first goal by Horton back—a low wrister over his left pad—he was essentially hung out to dry on the other three. Defensive breakdowns, bad turnovers, screens and deflections were what Price had to contend with all evening. Not to mention that there was no real semblance of a system being played. In fact, it looked like a bit of a free-for-all. So, while there were some boneheads who started booing Price, there is no way that this loss could be hung around his neck.
-Palushaj is fast.
Playing on a line with Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec, Palushaj’s incredible speed was on display all night as he danced through, around, and past the Bruins’ defenders. He didn’t seem a bit intimidated by the NHL competition and was always going toward the net. The knock on Palushaj is that he might not have the hands to be a top-6 player.
While he didn’t score last night, he did have a lot of opportunities. A year (or less) in Hamilton should help determine what kind of player Palushaj will become. But suffice it to say, that he should become an important player for the Habs down the road.
-Leblanc is going to be good.
Like Palushaj, Leblanc was not at all intimidated by the Bruins as his incredible hands and foot speed were on display. Also on display was his nose for the net as Leblanc was constantly buzzing around the Bruins goaltender.
Leblanc did get bodied off of the puck a few times but that is to be expected from a six-foot, 175-pound 19-year old. Once he packs on a good 15 to 20 pounds of muscle, he should end up developing into a top-end NHL player.
-Andrew Conboy made his mark.
Conboy is a rough and tumble type of player who’s role on any given team is pretty evident: abuse and intimidate the opposition. Last night was no different as Conboy made himself seen by constantly being in the oppositions face. Whether it was smashing a player behind the net, tussling after the whistle, fighting with Adam McQuaid—a fight which Conboy lost badly—or going to the net to create havoc, Conboy was effective in his role last night.
With a shortage of tough fighting-type players in the Habs lineup, Conboy represents a good option if ever Jacques Martin wants to add more toughness to his bottom six this season.
The Canadiens are back to practice today as their ‘B’ squad—consisting of players such as Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Lars Eller, and P.K. Subban—prepare to take on the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night at the Bell Centre. Eller is currently penciled in on a line with Gomez and Gionta and it will be interesting to see how he fits in.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fans are going to love Eller and realize why he was the keystone in the trade that sent Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues.