Dwayne Roloson stopped 24 shots, Stephen Stamkos and Brent Connolly scored two goals each as the Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Canadiens their sixth loss in seven pre-season outings Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Martin St. Louis added two assists. The teams will meet again Saturday night in Quebec City.
Summing It Up – For Canadiens fans, the game had it’s moments. Their tempo was very good in the first period; fell off in the second period and in the third period the club managed only two shots on Roloson. After the game, coach Jacques Martin questioned their “work ethic”. Not a great night again for Peter Budaj in the Canadiens goal, especially in the first period. He has now let in 11 goals his last two starts. He was not alone.There is plenty of work ahead for the team in the week leading up to the season opener next Thursday.
Panic Time – At 4:20 of the third period while killing a penalty Josh Gorges tangled with Ryan Shannon falling to the ice with his surgically repaired knee twisted awkwardly underneath him. Gorges got up and continued in the game. He said afterwards that the knee held up and gave him no problem the rest of the way.
The Comeback – Scott Gomez, at least at this stage, seems to have rejuvenated his game. He is freewheeling the way he did when he first came to the club two years ago. What is noticeable is his desire to shoot the puck (7 times-four of them on the net in this game He has 13 shots in three games).
The Newcomer – Gorges’ on-ice partner Chris Campoli played his first game for the Canadiens after only two practices. Playing a conservative game he did all of the right things. He took five shots, two of them on goal and did a good job of moving the puck from his own end.
The Kids –
…..Brendan Gallagher played the first period on the line with Gomez and Pacioretty and was doing the things that brought him all of attention in this training camp. Halfway through the period for some reason he was moved to the third line with Desharnais and Kostitsyn. His effectiveness seemed to go out the window. Gionta played the rest of the game on the Gomez line.
….Michael Bournival might have the best of the rookie forwards. He was playing in just his second game because of a knee injury. On the fourth line with Engqvist and Blunden he showed plenty of jump and hit the post in the third period.
….Andreas Engqvist continues to play his own game which does not include heavy hitting. Seems to get the job done. Don’t look for offense. No shots taken in the game but three hits.
…..Michael Blunden, with Engvist and Palushaj the last men standing for the final roster spots, had a couple of brutal giveaways but also registered a couple of heavy hits.
…..Rafael Diaz had his best night of the camp. He was paired with Hal Gill. Didn’t seem to be as hesitant in his own end which indicates he’s getting used to an ice surface that is 15 feet narrower than what he was used to. Has great speed.
…..Alexei Yemelin , like Diaz, seemed more comfortable. He complemented P.K. Subban in this game. He was minus-2 on the night. Might have been a little lost on Tampa’s third goal but the first one was just bad work on the part of his goaltender. Contract stipulations aside, Yemelin is good enough to be the Canadiens sixth or seventh defenseman.
Next stop Quebec City Saturday night and then four days in Collingwood Ontario. Time for the veterans to get serious. Still a lot of work to do. .