Michael McCarron (pictured) and Michael Bournival picked up two points apiece and were among the youngsters to raise eyebrows as the Canadiens took to the ice at the Bell Centre in their pre-season opener.
Bournival had a pair of goals and McCarron picked up two assists as the Habs fell 5-4 to the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout.
Bournival showed lots of ofensive spark out there and McCarron displayed some soft hands in setting up both Bournival and Martin St-Pierre. McCarron went hard along the boards to dish the puck out to Bournival for his first goal of the night. The Canadiens’ top draft pick of this summer could also be found parked in the opposing crease; which is exactly where you want McCarron’s 6-5 frame to be.
Two other players of note who impressed me up front were Martin Reway and Erik Nystrom: both showed plenty of finesse as skill players with speed. Nystrom also showed he has a little show biz in him with his stick-twirling goal-scoring celebration.
On defence, Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi, both with some NHL experience under their collective belts after last season, aquitted themselves well. Peter Budaj and Zach Fucale split the goaltending duties: Budaj playing the first half of the game, Fucale — with his rather stark, generic, “no-frills” mask, finishing up and taking the team through the OT and shootout.
Brendan Gallagher, playing on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller, was in “mid-season form” (as we like to say) and took no prisoners, even though it was only a pre-season game. This kid simply doesn’t have an “off switch.”
This was a fairly entertaining, spirited hockey game: as pre-season games go, and as Habs-Sabres games go. Up next for the Canadiens: the Boston Bruins, who are in town Monday night.