Chris Neil scored his second goal with 28 seconds remaining in regulation time as the Ottawa Senators edged the Canadiens 3-2 at the Bell Centre Saturday night.  The goal came just as a penalty to Brian Gionta expired.  Milan Michalek also scored for the Senators while both Canadiens goals came off the stick of Michael Cammalleri.  Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 28-24.  The three stars were Neil, Cammalleri and Canadiens rookie forward Gabriel Dumont.  The Canadiens next meet the Boston Bruins Sunday night in Halifax.

Adding It Up –

The first and third periods of this game would cure a chronic insomniac.  The Canadiens, in their continue assessment of team prospects, continued their policy of dressing twelve rookies per game.  The lack of continuity made for a generally poor pice of entertainment. 

Still, there were some positive individual performances.

Aaron Palushaj assisted on both of the Canadiens goals.  After two very ordinary games, this was his best night of the training camp.  He called it the “most important game of my life”, which may be a little bit of an overstatement but it did put him back in the running for that 13th forward job that was being awarded to Andreas Engqvist by default.  His pass breakaway pass to Michael Cammalleri was outstanding.

Gabriel Dumont played with Palushaj and Cammalleri.  His has not had a bad game in this camp.  After the game Cammalleri went out of his way to compliment the work ethic of both of his linemates.  He’s entering his second professional season with Hamilton still looking for the touch that gave him 50 goals in his final junior season. 

Olivier Archambault made his first training camp start. He logged over 13 minutes playing centre or leftwing on three different lines. He was drafted 108th overall in June.  There were glimpses of talent.  He had no playmaking finish at all, but someone to keep track of down the line.  He’ll be heading back to Val d’Or next week.

Brock Trotter was better, but he has a way to go if he wants to compete with Palushaj and Engqvist for that final roster spot.

Among the veterans –

Michael Cammalleri benfited from the outstanding efforts of his rookie linemates Palushaj and Dumont.  Two goals, seven shots on goal. 

Carey Price played the entire game and tended to business with much more attention than he had devoted to his two previous starts.  He could not be faulted on any of the Ottawa goals; two of them off defensive failures and the third a deflection off the skate of Canadiens defenseman Jeff Woywitka.

Not a great night for Tomas Plekanec,  Nothing serious.  He seems to have some timing issues whch he’ll deal with over the next two weeks.

Plekanec linemate Brian Gionta had a productive first period but was invisible offensively for the most part in the second and third periods.   

It wasn’t the same Nathan Beaulieu in this game compared with the one we saw in Wednesday’s Buffalo game.  Against the Sabres there was authority in his game. Against the Senators he was tentative and his turnover at the Ottawa line led to the game-tieing goal.

Next up – the Bruins in Halifax Sunday night and then the Bruins again Monday at the Bell Centre.  The Canadiens have a 1-3 training camp record……but who’s counting?