The Montreal Canadiens picked up an overtime win over the Ottawa Senators on the back of an overtime goal from Phillip Danault. Most teams have been going with a skeleton roster for these games and the Habs took that to an extreme, dressing maybe six skaters who are projected to make the opening night roster and all of them will likely play depth roles if they do. They also played a defense corps consisting entirely of rookies and AHL players. Both the Canadiens & their AHL affiliate in Saint John’s have to be pleased with what they saw, as they got a few very good performances from guys who are projected to start the year in the AHL or compete for a depth spot with the Habs. The coaching staff in Saint John’s should be especially happy with how most of the defense corps played.
As for the rest of the game, here’s what I noticed.
- Ottawa’s always going to be a team that carries the puck in a lot. Doesn’t seem to matter who the coaching staff is or if it’s just meaningless preseason hockey.
- Nikita Sherbak is an interesting player to watch. He can handle the puck really well and had a few rushes where he tried to go coast-to-coast to generate offense on his own. I’m hoping he pans out because players like him are fun to watch and the league needs more of them, even if they’re playing lower in the lineup.
- Speaking of players who are fun to watch, I was happy that Erik Karlsson dressed for this game because I always have time for him. He obviously wasn’t taking the same risks he does in the regular season, but there were a few instances where he was one of the first players in the zone and added another layer to the Sens attack. Can’t wait to watch him play meaningful hockey soon.
- I was interested in watching Phil Varone because he was a good scorer in the AHL for years and got a great chance on a line with Mike Hoffman & Kyle Turris. He looked a bit out of place and fanned on a couple of chances that someone like Mark Stone might have converted on. That said, he had a couple of good scoring chances.
- The one player on Montreal’s defense who I thought struggled was Yury Alexandrov. He wasn’t moving the puck out of the zone quickly and reverted to his partner more times than not. The Sens were able to create more passing plays on his side of the ice too because he was giving up a lot of space at the blue line & not reading the play well.
Onto the stats…
Ottawa Senators Shots
Montreal Canadiens Shots
Ottawa Pass Zones
Montreal Pass Zones
5v5 Zone Entries
Ottawa Zone Entries
Ottawa Zone Entries
Ottawa Zone Entry Defense
Montreal Zone Entry Defense
Ottawa Zone Exits
Montreal Zone Exits