1 senators tokarskiThe Ottawa Senators once again took advantage of porous Canadiens goaltending and rode it to a 5-4 win Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. It was the final pre-season game for both teams.

Chris Neil. Mike Hoffman, Chris Wideman, Mark Stone and Cody Ceci scored for the Senators. Kyle Turris had four assists and, along with his goal, Stone had two assists. For the Canadiens, who outshot Ottawa 37-15, it was Dale Weise, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty. The game’s three stars were Turris, Stone and Hoffman.

In a 3-on-3 overtime rehearsal, Tom Gilbert ended it at 2:28 when he went around Kyle Turris to score on Ottawa goaltender Matt O’Connor.

Adding It Up –

First the Negatives –

….Dustin Tokarski had a really rough night. Statistically, every third shot the Senators took on him went in the net (5 goals on 15 shots). It is really hard to make any argument that he should remain Carey Price’s backup this season. In his two training camp appearances his goals against average was 5.85 and his save percentage .783. Mike Condon played almost equal minutes and gave up no goals. There may be reasons to keep Tokarski around, but they won’t be based on who is the better goaltender. Condon has won that hands down.

1 senators tinordi….Jarred Tinordi was the other player on the brink and he came out of it in no better shape. He was minus three in the game. Tinordi could take at least partial blame on the Senators first and second goals. He has absolutely no confidence, but even so teams will be standing in the waiver line to take a 6’6” 225 lb. defender who can skate if the Canadiens are of the mind to send him to St. John’s.

On the Plus Side –

….If one were asked to name one star from the Canadiens you wouldn’t get much argument if you selected Nathan Beaulieu. He was the polar opposite of Tinordi. Outside of a glaring giveaway to Mike Hoffman in the third period, he was confident, moved the puck authoritatively and made sgrong plays in the offensive zone. He was rewarded with 3:26 of power play time. On the power play he was paired with Petry. Five on five he worked beside Tom Gilbert.

….Alex Galchenyuk had another good game but his line wasn’t operating as seamlessly in the absence of Alexander Semin who was out with a minor injury. Zack Kassian filled in on right wing and didn’t accomplish a lot.. In the third period Devante Smith-Pelly replaced Kassian and things improved.

….After a slow training camp, Smith-Pelly has come around his last two games which further dooms Jacob de la Rose to a return trip to the AHL.

….The new-look power play produced two more goals in a game in which neither Subban nor Markov played. With all of the player movement and creativity it has a chance to be one of the most improved aspects of the team this season.

1 senators pacioretty….Therrien again put Max Pacioretty to work in his second game back from the knee injury . He led all forwards with just over 19 minutes of ice time and scored in the final minute. The line with Plekanec and Gallagher was the Canadiens best, producing ten shots on goal and scoring twice.

The Final Roster Process

….The Canadiens have until 5.00 Tuesday to make their final roster decisions. Some of them are obvious. Charles Hudon and Sven Andrighetto will be heading for St. John’s. Smith-Pelly earned a spot the last two games ahead of de la Rose. That means there will be no rookie forwards to start the season.  Don’t forget, Tomas Fleischmann has to be signed as well.

On defense it isn’t as simple. If the Canadiens carry eight, the final choice will be between Barberio and Tinordi. Barberio probably can clear waivers. Tinordi won’t. Simple as that.

And then there’s the Tokarski/Condon situation. And there are a half dozen arguments for and against one-or-the-other that go beyond who is the better talent to make a prediction. Goaltending coach Stephane Waite may have the final say.

Going to be an interesting 48 hours or so.

From the Scoresheet – Points (3) Beaulieu 3 assists; Shots on Goal (5) Gallagher; Shot Attempts (6) Petry & Pacioretty; Hits (3) Emelin; Blocked Shots (5) Emelin; Faceoffs (50%) Mitchell.

The Starting Canadiens Lineup

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Kassian
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
de la Rose – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly

Beaulieu – Petry
Emelin – Gilbert
Tinordi – Pateryn


Not in the lineup – Alexander Semin (minor injury); Carey Price, Andrei Markov; P.K. Subban; Mark Barberio; Brian Flynn; Charles Hudon; Sven Andrighetto; Jacob de la Rose.