A young Montreal Canadiens lineup fell victim to a more veteran Ottawa Senators lineup in a fight filled affair at the Canadian Tire Center last night.
Magnus Nygren opened the scoring for the Canadiens, as he beat Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond over the shoulder on a hard slap shot. It was mostly down hill from there for the Canadiens.
The young Canadiens defense would leave Clarke MacArthur alone in the slot, and he made no mistake beating Peter Budaj when Cory Conacher hit him with a perfect pass. Late in the first, Bobby Ryan would dance around Darren Dietz and beat Budaj low to the blocker side to make it 2-1 heading into the first break.
It was all Ottawa in the second period, as the Sens outshot Montreal 15 to 6 in the period, and out chanced them, but were only able to get one past Budaj. It was late in the second period and Dietz could not handle the puck in front of his own net, which left Milan Michalek to take advantage and make it 3-1 after two periods.
Conacher made it 4-1 in the third on a nice tip right in front of Budaj on a power play. The Dietz – Tinordi pairing were on for another goal against in the third, when Mika Zibanejad was left alone in front, and gathered a rebound and slid it into the back of the net, making it 5-1.
The Canadiens wrapped up the scoring late in the third, when a Raphael Diaz point shot found its way through plenty of traffic and beat Hammond, who never had eyes on the puck, and the score would remain 5-2.
The rivalry that boiled over in last year’s playoffs heated up again, as the two teams combined for more than 100 penalty minutes. Sens pugilist Chris Neil fought Nick Tarnasky early on, and would fight Ryan White in the second period. At that same stoppage Travis Moen dropped the gloves with Fredrik Claesson, and both were tossed from the game.
White and Neil would mix it up once again in the third but cooler heads prevailed before they were able to throw any punches. However, they were handed roughing penalties and misconducts for their troubles, and were headed to the showers with less than four minutes remaining.
Nathan Beaulieu made his pre-season debut, and made up for the lost time by leading all players in ice time with over 26 minutes played last night. Though he failed to record a point, he showed off his skating skills, and puck moving abilities, had a pair of shots on goal, played more than anyone on either team, and was a plus one in a 5-2 loss.
It would be difficult for Canadiens to decide to keep someone who missed almost all of the pre-season, but if Beaulieu plays like he did last night early in the year with the Hamilton Bulldogs, he will not be long in the AHL.
The two teams meet again tonight at the Bell Centre, in the Canadiens pre-season finale, and though the Senators have announced they will be using a more AHL type lineup, the Canadiens will likely be icing a team that could be used on opening night.