Third period goals by Rene Bourque and Nathan Beaulieu plus Michael Bournival into an empty net gave the Canadiens a 3-1 win over the Black Hawks in Chicago Wednesday night. Although outplayed by a wide margin, it was a scoreless game going into the third period. The Bourque and Beaulieu goals came 1:53 apart early in the final period. Andrew Shaw scored the only Chicago goal with just under six minutes remaining. Final shots on goal were 32-19. In Chicago the three stars were Carey Price, Nathan Beaulieu and Andrew Shaw. The Canadiens have now won four of five pre-season games with a home and home series against Ottawa Friday and Saturday to wrap up training camp.
Adding It Up –
Resilient – For the second time in a week the Canadiens went on the road with lineup dominated by rookies and came away with a victory against a team dominated by regulars.. Last Friday it was the 3-2 win over Colorado in Quebec City. There were only four forwards off last year’s Canadiens roster in the lineup and, with the exception of Alexei Emelin, the entire defence was made up of prospects.
Goaltending Helps – In Quebec City it was Dustin Tokarski who stood the Avalanche on their ear. In this game, Carey Price. Shots on goals through the first two periods were 22-9 and scoring chances 10-5. Price was in midseason form on six of those Chicago chances.
Mixed Results – What to make of Alexei Emelin’s training camp. He was the game’s number one intimidator with six hits including thunderous clean checks on Andrew Shaw in the first period, Johnny Oduya in the second and Jonathan Toews in the third. The other part of his game seems a little confused…or perhaps the word should be “confusing” It should be noted, he looked better playing alongside Greg Pateryn than he has when paired with P.K. Subban. Pateryn recorded four hits of his own and blocked four shots. He also mishandled the puck at the Chicago line leading to the breakaway and only Chicago goal.
Good Sign – We wondered which version Rene Bourque we would see in this training camp; the scoring force of the playoffs or the one who struggled through almost the entire regular season. Good news. Bourque seems to be carrying his playoff success into this training camp. His goal was the result of hard work. He took seven shots, four of them on goal. There were four scoring chances, he hit a couple of people, had a takeaway and blocked shot. A good night’s work, and the game’s best skater.
Out of the Blue – There is going to be a lot of discussion between now and Sunday about the Canadiens 7th defenceman. Tinordi? Bouillon? Enter Davis Drewiske. Pairing him with Nathan Beaulieu, Therrien gave Drewiske a long hard look. Almost 19 minutes of ice time including 3:55 killing penalties beside Emelin. In just over a total of five minutes of power play time, Chicago did not get a shot on goal. Drewiske was on the ice for all three Montreal goals.
Taking Charge – At this point in camp, with opposition lineups starting to be filled with veterans, some rookies take charge, others play themselves into the minors. I think it’s pretty safe to say Nathan Beaulieu and Jiri Sekac have made the team. Sekac bounced back from a so-so game against Washington with a strong effort here. Earning an extended look is Christian Thomas who has played in four of the five exhibition games and has shown no sign of fading into the woodwork. He leads scorers with a goal and three assists. Pateryn should remain through the weekend as well. Not ready for prime time at this stage of their careers are Jarred Tinordi and Darren Dietz on defense, Sven Andrighetto and Jacob De la Rose. Hamilton is going to have a good hockey team this year.
Ahead – Between now and Friday night’s game in Ottawa, the Canadiens will reduce their roster to a more manageable 24 or 25 players. The exhibition schedule ends Saturday against the Senators at the Bell Centre. Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski will share goaltending duties Friday in Ottawa. Carey Price will play the Saturday game.