canadiens sweaterThe Carolina Hurricanes took advantage of mistakes to open a 2-0 lead by the second period and survived an energetic Canadiens comeback attempt in the third period to win 3-1 at the Bell Centre Saturday night.

Drayson Bowman, Jeff Skinner and Nathan Gerbe gave the Hurricanes a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period.  Michael Bournival’s goal with 4:16 remaining spoiled the shutout bid by Anton Khodobin.  The Canadiens outshot Carolina 18-3 in the third period and 42-27 overall.

The three stars were Khodobin, Eric Staal and Jarred Tinordi.

Adding It Up

The Opening Act – The first period was played mostly in the Carolina end.  The Canadiens took 28 shots, 16 of them on goal.  Of Carolina’s 12 shots, only 7 found their way to the net.  The period was livened by three fights.  The Habs lost their way in the second period but regained control of the ice, if not the scoreboard in the third.  Along the way Brendan Gallagher hit the crossbar in the first period, Rene Bourque rang it off the post in the first minute of the second and just after the Canadiens made it 3-1, Christian Thomas hit the post.  One of those nights.

To Err is Human – Mistakes handed the Hurricanes the first two goals.  Poor communication between Price and Markov caused a turnover a behind the Canadiens net and Drayton Bowman made it 1-0.  In the second period, Tinordi left his position for the big hit on Tuomo Ruutu leaving Jeff Skinner uncovered and it was 2-0.  Carolina’s third goal came on a power play shortly after the Canadiens had killed off a 3:31 shorthanded stretch that included an even two minutes of 5-on-3.

The Hits Keep Coming–   Tinordi recorded four hits in the game.  Three of them were bone rattlers.  He nailed Eric Staal in the first period. Tuomo Ruutu in the second and Patrick Dwyer in the third.  The Eric Staal hit prompted a vigorous fight with Carolina tough-guy Tim Gleason, which Tinordi handled well.  He took himself out of position on the Ruutu hit which led to the game’s winning goal.  He and defense partner Greg Pateryn were minus-2 in the game, and it looks like a battle to the wire as to who will stay with the Canadiens as the Davis Drewiske replacement through the first month of the season.

Rarin’ To Go – Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque and Andrei Markov made their first pre-season appearance.  Markov, along with defense partner Raphael Diaz led all defensemen with over 25 minutes of ice time.  Plekanec and Bourque each got just over 20 minutes to lead all forwards.  A few timing issues, but not a bad beginning. Daniel Briere played on their line and recorded a team leading six mostly unmemorable shots on goal.

School Is Out –  As they have in their three previous games, the Canadiens used ten rookies against the Hurricanes.  Before their game Monday night against the New Jersey Devils they will be cutting their training camp roster to 25 plus the injured. Expect to see the basic veteran lineup in the final three games.

Making It Difficult – It’s not going to be easy to cut Michael Bournival..  He scored his fourth goal in his three pre-season appearances. He took nine shots in the game and six of them were on target.  Over his three games Bournival has 4 goals and 1 assist, is plus-3 with a total of 12 shots on goal.  The problem is finding a place for him on the Canadiens top three lines, which were pretty well set before training camp opened.

In the Circle – The Canadiens won 67% of the faceoffs with Lars Eller leading the way.  He won ten of eleven faceoffs he took against Eric and Jordan Staal and Riley Nash.

Looking Ahead – An expected roster cut sometime Sunday or early Monday then the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at the Bell Centre followed by the Senators Wednesday in Ottawa and back home to face Ottawa on Thursday.