Well the Habs have to get the losses out of their system before the real season starts, right? After 58 scoreless minutes, Joel Ward scored what proved to be the winner for the Capitals. It was a game marred with penalties that disrupted the flow from start to finish.
Fans got their first look at a Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Parenteau line with David Desharnais sitting out after playing two straight against Colorado. As was the case when Galchenyuk found himself on Plekanec’s wing last season, his new linemates took some time to adjust to the 20-year-old’s speed. That said, they generated offense and nearly all of the Canadiens’ scoring chances early in the game.
If Jarred Tinordi’s goal is to crack the NHL roster with the Habs he didn’t help his chances tonight. Twice he was assessed minor penalties in the first period, one for tripping and the other for kneeing. Not exactly the kind of discipline Michel Therrien is looking for from a bottom pairing defensemen heading into the season.
Tinordi’s game also lacked a necessary physical presence – that is until he crushed Washington defenseman Nate Schmidt in the third. With five for fighting, five for elbowing, and a game misconduct, #24 racked up a whopping 24 PIMs. Was it a headshot or not? Make your call:
With Carey Price on the bench for the extra man, Montreal failed to maintain pressure as the clock ticked down. Brooks Laich notched the empty-net goal to seal the Capitals victory.
P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Pacioretty, Parenteau, and Galchenyuk each had between five and seven minutes of powerplay ice time but failed to score with the man advantage. Therrien and his coaching staff will need to address this as the regular season approaches. On the flip side, Montreal’s penalty kill units were perfect.
HabsWorld 3 Stars
First Star: Carey Price
If there’s one certainty heading into the 2014-15 season, it’s that Carey Price will give his team a chance to win each and every night he plays. Playing his first full 60 minutes since returning from a knee injury suffered during last year’s playoff run, Price turned in 29 saves on 30 shots. Alexei Emelin did his best to help Price pad his highlight reel with a few gaffs in the defensive end. There’s nothing really more that needs to be said about Montreal’s goalie. He’s ready. The only question remaining is who will back him up on October 8th?
Second Star: P.K. Subban
Get used to seeing the $72 million dollar man’s name in the HabsWorld 3 Stars. He’s going to be a regular. Subban logged 26:56, the most by any player on either team. He finished at minus-2, but it’s his strength along the boards and ability to skate it out of trouble that earns him the honor tonight.
Third Star: Alex Galchenyuk
He was on the ice for the game winner and the empty-netter, but that’s because Therrien trusted him to score. Galchenyuk did not look out of place centering the Canadiens’ top line. He had some help in the faceoff circle with Parenteau lining up for draws on the right side of the ice. His three shots on goal tied him with Plekanec for most by a Hab. He wasn’t afraid to throw the body or battle along the boards. It’s clear that his offseason training prepared him for the long season. There is a very good chance we’ll witness a breakout season from the youngster.
Honorable Mention: Brendan Gallagher
Alright, who forgot to remind Brendan that it’s only preseason? Gallagher was his usual wrecking ball self, crashing the net and getting under Brayden Holtby’s skin without taking a single penalty. Once he has some consistent linemates, look for him to start finding the back of the net, with a puck instead of his body, more frequently.