Preseason Game 4 Recap: Canadiens Shut Out Senators to Maintain Perfect Record
So, who thinks Keith Kinkaid will be a better backup than Antti Niemi?
Everybody who watched the game last night probably just raised his or her hand.
The Canadiens destroyed the Ottawa Senators 4-0 last night to improve their preseason record to, well, 4-0. The first period was rather choppy, with little flow to the game, and lots of penalties. However, there were some highlights, such as Keith Kinkaid’s save on Alex Formenton. Things really started to heat up in the second period. With Montreal dominating in shots, Jeff Petry sniped one home on the power play to make it 1-0. Then, a bad puck handling play by Craig Anderson led to a Jake Evans one-timer. The one-timer ended up in the back of the net, and it’s 2-0 Montreal. The third period started with a bit of a pushback from the Senators, but another Canadiens power play led to Tomas Tataaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar sniping one home from the high slot. 3-0 Montreal. The Canadiens just couldn’t miss on the power play, and five seconds in to the next one Phillip Danault tipped a Jeff Petry shot into the net to make the final score 4-0.
Here are some thoughts on the game, plus some thoughts on the two previous games against the Florida Panthers:
· Am I dreaming? The Canadiens’ power play scored on 3 of 4 opportunities last night, with the scoreless power play being abbreviated. Can we attribute this to a power play combination that finally clicked, or simply a really bad Senators squad? The Senators’ penalty kill last year was at 79.2%, which is by no means good, but there were definitely worse penalty kills in the league. Even if the Ottawa Senators’ penalty kill really does suck, it’s still not liable to give up 3 goals on 4 power plays. I think that the addition of Nick Suzuki really helped spark the power play last night. His offensive instincts and his ability to dangle himself into the offensive zone will greatly help the Canadiens moving forward. As well, there was great puck movement deep in the offensive zone, and the Canadiens finally put Phillip Danault on the power play. Danault’s ability to win faceoffs consistently helped the Canadiens maintain puck possession right off the bat. Another factor that helped the Canadiens’ power play last night was a consistent net-front presence. Tatar scored a power play goal. Nick Suzuki was in front of the net. Petry shot from the point on the power play. Danault was in front of the net, and he tipped the puck in. If I were Claude Julien, I would definitely stick with the power play combinations from last night. The chemistry was real and visible. Has Julien found the answer to the power play? Let’s give it a few more games before answering that question, but I really liked what I saw last night.
· Nick Suzuki looked very comfortable next to Tomas Tatar ad Phillip Danault. He had some quality scoring chances, and picked up an assist on the Tatar goal. With Ryan Poehling out with a concussion, we could see Suzuki making the team out of camp, and possibly in a top-6 role. The skillset is there. It’s only a matter of time before he realizes his full potential.
· Keith Kinkaid was not very busy, but he was sharp when he needed to be. It’s good for a team’s confidence when they know they have a chance to win every night, regardless of which goalie is in net. And that save on Alex Formenton was spectacular.
· I went to school Friday Morning, after the Canadiens beat the Florida Panthers 5-4 in a shootout, and was greeted by one of my Leafs-crazy friends. He told me that the Canadiens lost to the Panthers, and therefore I was not wearing a Canadiens jersey because I was ashamed of my team. I said, “The Canadiens, didn’t lose, they won in a shootout.”
My friend told me, “What do you mean? They were down 3-1 in the second period.”
“They came back” was my reply.
Moral of the story: never doubt the Montreal Canadiens.
· Speaking of the Maple Leafs, our hated rivals are coming to town tomorrow for a game at the Bell Centre. If both teams ice NHL-caliber rosters, it should be a fun game to watch.
Our record is 4-0 so far. Here’s to 5-0 by Tuesday morning.
Go Habs Go.
Signed, Le Bo