Jake Gardiner scored a power play goal sixteen seconds into overtime to give the Toronto a 2-1 win over the Canadiens Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. It was the first pre-season game for both teams. The teams had no opportunity to try out the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime because Devante Smith-Pelly was assessed a tripping penalty in the final minute of play which under the new rules gave Toronto a 4-on-3 advantage.
Gardner also assisted on Toronto’s first goal which was scored by former Toronto first round draft pick William Nylander. The Canadiens goal was scored by Michael McCarron. Carey Price and Zach Fucale shared goaltending duties for the Canadiens. Shots on goal were 27-21 in favour of the Leafs.
The three stars were McCarron, Nylander and Gardiner.
Summing It Up –
…One thing learned over the years is never be over-analytical through the first four exhibition games especially when it comes to the veterans. If one were to pick two Canadiens regulars who stepped right up they were Alexei Emelin, Tomas Plekanec and Carey Price. Emelin gave us the hit of the night when he leveled Toronto’s Josh Leivo in the second period.
I thought Zack Kassian did some good things. He used his size well especially on the forecheck and on at least one occasion showed some skill handling the puck in traffic. The other veterans were operating on their own schedule, which is alright too.
The last time we saw Michael McCarron at the Bell Centre was the opening game of the 2014 exhibition schedule (Sept. 23rd) vs. Boston. He was on his way to having an excellent night before he was checked into the Boston goalpost by David Warofsky injuring his shoulder. At the time he had eleven shifts, two shots on goal, three scoring chances, three hits and a takeaway. He missed the rest of training camp and the first seven games of his junior season with a shoulder injury. One year less a day later he was back at the Bell Centre and a legitimate choice as the game’s first star. 19 shifts – a goal; three more scoring chances; 2 of his five shots were on goal; 5 hits and two blocked shots. He won’t make the Canadiens out of training camp but it’s obvious the Canadiens didn’t making the 6’6” centre a first round draft pick three years ago.
It’s About The Kids –
Outside of McCarron – Sven Andrighetto played on the left wing beside Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher and was effective with his speed and skill. We will continue to wonder about his size in today’s NHL, but in traffic it doesn’t seem to bother him very much.
Zach Fucale had a horrible time on Sunday in the intersquad game. He played the second half of this game and was quite good. He had little chance on either goal and some of the 14 saves he made were excellent especially in the third period when Toronto outshot the Canadiens 11-5.
The other prospects weren’t as noticable.
Following The Script
Michel Therrien stuck to his announced lines and pairings throughout the game. Needless to say the Plekanec line and the Emelin/Jeff Petry defense pairing were most noticable.
Andrighetto – Plekanec – Gallagher
De la Rose – Mitchell – Kassian
Carr – Dumont – Smith-Pelly
Bozon – McCarron – Thomas
Emelin – Petry
Tinordi – Pateryn
Barberio – Deitz
Next game Thursday at the Bell Centre against Chicago.