The Montreal Canadiens outlasted the New Jersey Devils tonight, improving their pre-season record to 2-2-1 with a 3-2 victory.
The two teams skated to a scoreless draw after the first period, and then broke out for two goals apiece in the second stanza. Max Pacioretty opened the scoring early in the second on a power play. One of the newest Canadiens, Daniel Briere collected a loose puck in the corner and found Pacioretty in the high slot, whose quick snap shot beat Martin Brodeur.
Twice former Canadien winger Michael Ryder tied the game minutes later on a knuckler that squeaked through Carey Price. Pacioretty answered before the midway point of the period, accepting a quick Subban breakout pass, and tucking a backhander between the pads of Brodeur. Devils defender Adam Larsson’s seeing eye shot knotted things at two late in the period.
The Canadiens took over the pace of play in the third, outshooting the Devils 8-4, and more importantly, were the only team to score in the frame. A Jarred Tinordi point shot was tipped in front by Ryan White, and with less than four minutes to go, the Canadiens took the lead for good.
It was a great play by White, who needs to step his game up to hold off Gabriel Dumont and especially Michael Bournival for ice time. White won a draw in the Devils zone, and battled a defender as he crashed the front of the net, disrupting Martin Brodeur. White was then able to get his stick on the point shot, and ultimately was the difference in the game. It is only pre-season, but it is the type of play White is going to need to make habit if he wants to stay out of Michel Therrien’s doghouse, a place he frequented last season.
Brandon Prust fought Alex Urbom early in the first period, and while he held a distinct advantage in the scrap, I do not see the point in him dropping the gloves at all in the pre-season. Prust was injured in the playoffs last season, and has a guaranteed spot on the Canadiens roster. The risk of him being hurt again far outweighs any benefit of him fighting in an exhibition game. If he was standing up for a teammate, or battling for a roster spot then it would make much more sense, but I cringe when I see him dropping the gloves in an exhibition game.
Jarred Tinordi continued to show he does not plan on playing any more games with the Hamilton Bulldogs. Early in the first it appeared Tinordi was beat by a Devils forward, who was breaking in on Price. Tinordi was able to keep pace, and used his long reach to knock the puck away, and end the scoring chance before it could happen.
Jarred used his massive size to his advantage throughout the game, throwing several hits, played over 18 minutes, looked good on the penalty kill, and eventually made the play that led to the game winning goal.
The pre-season is a series of games that usually don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but if the Canadiens management value these contests at all, we will see Michael Bournival and Jarred Tinordi in the opening night lineup.