Monday, 26 September 2016

Preseason: Canadiens 2, Devils 3

Thanks to Gary Bettman, who deftly handed broadcasting rights to the class clowns Sportsnet and TVA, I'm offering my Canadiens Express thoughts on the 3-2 loss to the Devils, having been blacked out of the full game.

--Glad to have Pierre Houde and Marc Denis back, they're talking about the youngsters, the upcoming season, the return of Kirk Muller.  No lame foxhole jokes, no character assassination of David Desharnais, I can get used to this.

--Arturri Lehkonen gets early praise for buzzing the net, but then gets a tripping penalty late in the first period.  Cue the clichés about not moving your feet, being on the wrong side of the puck, etc.

He was part of the best line for the Canadiens at the London tournament, but it was pointed out that Mike McCarron and Nikita Scherbak were the leaders, that Arturri didn't score.  When Mike McCarron was scratched for the third game, his performance was much more muted.

Same during the scrimmages, he had the benefit of playing with Gally and Chucky, but didn't get on the scoresheet or really draw the eye.  He really needs to impress the coaches in the next couple of games if he wants to make the team.

--Pierre and Marc have praise for Noah Juulsen, how impressive he is, his size, he looks like an NHL'er they say.

--Shots are 21-9 in favour of the Canadiens halfway through the game, but the score is tied 1-1.

--And it's now 2-1 for the Devils.  Powerplay goal, not much Mike Condon could have done on this one, but the first was on a dribbly little rebound he gave up that Adam Henrique cashed in.

There's a planned goalie change at this precise moment, not really reflective of any dissatisfaction by the coaches, they just wanted to give Charlie Lindgren half a game too, but you can't help but think it's symbolic.

--Marc Denis, a former NHL goalie himself, is quoted by Pierre Houde as saying, upon seeing Charlie Lindgren at the morning skate prior to his first NHL start last spring, "lui, il a l'air d'un gardien de but".  ("That kid looks like a goalie.)

Mr. Denis continues that he makes a good impression, which counts with scouts and GM's.  Also quoting goalie coach Stéphane Waite, he says he's "very athletic, has the build for the job, he's a proud competitor, had a lot of success in the NCAA.  He's coachable, ready to learn in terms of technique."

--Arturri Lehkonen has a couple of good sequences with his linemates, threatening at the opposite net.

--Noah Juulsen does some exploring with the puck, nice to see he's confident when it's time to create.  None of his sessions make me gasp or cringe though, nothing reckless about them.

--Jacob de la Rose playing centre, is saddled with Bobby Farnham on one wing.  Chris Terry on the other is less distasteful.  Potential AHL line?

--Jeff Petry is everywhere on the ice on his shifts, skating easily.  Early in the third, he skates from across the ice to catch up to speedster Taylor Hall on a break.  Good to see.

--Sven Andrighetto takes a delay of game penalty when he clears the puck into the stands.  Marc and Pierre tut-tut that that's no way to earn a job.

--Noah Juulsen on the powerplay, looking good, after the Galchenyuk line came close to tying the score.

--The Carr-Desharnais-Andrighetto line has so far not really caused any sparks, in the scrimmages or this game.  I wonder how long Michel Therrien will stick with this combo, how patient he can be with it.  It's almost a hopeful dream, rather than a unit based on any evidence that these three have any chemistry and will complete each other well.  The lack of size on that line is glaring.

--Taylor Hall playing like he has something to prove.  "I'll show them, trading me for some nobody like Adam Larsson, grumble grumble grumble..."

--Finally, the Desharnais line gets some points on the board, with a nice pass from Sven Andrighetto to Zach Redmond.  3-2 for the Devils.

Mr. Redmond has scored in the last two scrimmages, and now this preseason game.  Am I too hasty writing him off to the AHL already?  The guy is going to be hard to ignore if he keeps creating offence like this.

--Canadiens pull the goalie, and the Galchenyuk line comes very close to tying the score.

--RDS gives Arturri Lehkonen the game's Second Star.  Denis Gauthier's headline on L'Antichambre is about him: "On A Silver Platter".  He says it's a great opportunity for him, it's easy for the Canadiens to give it to him with Max Pacioretty being away at the World Cup.  He feels Arturri started the evening off slowly, but did well as the game progressed.  The panel agrees he's a step ahead of those he's competing with.

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