Without any of their top stars, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to run up a 3-0 lead in the first period and coast to a 5-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre Friday night. Rookie Kyle Baun, grandson of Bobby Baun, scored twice for Chicago, Ryan Garbutt, Garrett Ross and Jan Hejda also scored. Zack Kassian scored the only goal for the Canadiens. Carey Price played the entire game in the Canadiens nets. Chicago outshot the Habs 30-23. The three stars were Baun, Ross and Canadiens rookie Charles Hudon.
Adding It Up
…This was a terrible thing to watch. Not that we haven’t seen games like this in training camp years past. The veterans taking on their own schedule and the prospects doing their level best to gain favour with the coaches. The result was an uneven mess of a hockey game that left 20-thousand fans wondering why they wasted a Friday night, especially at the ticket prices.
….The Canadiens best forward far and away was Brendan Gallagher, who knows nothing about coasting. In the first period, Gallagher was the only functioning member of a line with Plekanec and Brian Flynn. In the second period Michel Therrien replaced Flynn with Daniel Carr and things seemed to go a little better, although this was not one of Plekanec better efforts.
….I was beginning to wonder what the Canadiens might be thinking about Devante Smith-Pelly by the end of the second period of this game but he seemed to wake himself up with a big hit early in the third and finally became a factor in the game and in the training camp. Up to then he had been accomplishing little.
….Zack Kassian appears destined to play on a fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Jacob de la Rose. No reason to think any differently after this game, but he did use his speed to break past the Chicago defense for the lone Canadiens goal. He’s big and if he can score a goal once in a while, the fourth line will be better than it was last year.
….On defence, with Subban and Markov not in the lineup, you could expect that Nathan Beaulieu and Jeff Petry would knock down the lions share of the ice time. Each had over 23 minutes including more than five minutes of power play time.
….Beaulieu was paired with Brett Lernout who is just out of junior hockey. He had a pretty good game.
…. Petry was with Alexei Emelin and it’s safe to say that will be this season’s second defense pairing. Petry did the finesse work again and Emelin did the heavy lifting. Nine hits for Emelin, more than anyone in the game.
….Carey Price played the whole game. Made some good saves. Had to deal with a lot of deflections. The 5th goal was into an empty net.
….Craig Ramsay is in town now, ‘advising’ on the Canadiens power play. There seems to be a lot player movement than the static and predictable look of recent years. Nothing to show for nine minutes of power play time so consider it as a continuing training camp work in progress.
….Two of the top prospects Charles Hudon and Daniel Carr proved to be the two best Canadiens rookies in the game. There is no sign that either of them is ready to make the step up from the American Hockey League.
….Hudon showed an impressive burst of speed to blow by the Chicago defense in the second period. He wound up with four shots on goal and a goalpost in the game.
….Carr, who led AHL rookies in goals last season, started the game with Hudon and Smith-Pelly and showed little until he was moved up with Plekanec and Gallagher in the second period. He also hit a goalpost.
….Something to be said for Jeremy Gregoire who immediately jumped and fought the Hawks Chris Desousa after he boarded Gabriel Dumont. Gregoire, who is also a strong Canadiens prospect, was a linemate of Hudon’s in junior hockey at Baie Comeau.
Here is the lineup to start the game.
Brian Flynn Tomas Plekanec Brendan Gallagher
Jakob de la Rose Torrey Mitchell Zack Kassian
Daniel Carr Charles Hudon Devante Smith-Pelly
Nicolas Blanchard Gabriel Dumont Jeremy Gregoire
Alexei Emelin Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu Brett Lernout
Mark Barberio Ryan Johnston