- – Very quietly Peter Holland is having a very good camp. I believe he’s won the fourth line center job. Mitchell has had a good camp too but Holland’s is superior. He’s responsible defensively and more creative with the puck than Mitchell. Holland also skates fluidly in a skating league. We shall see how much this pre-season is actually worth because if they were really fighting for jobs at camp, then Holland won one. He has been better than Mitchell. That puts Mitchell in Laval because they won’t chance losing Jacob De La Rose. That’s my call.
- – Phillip Danault was having a concerning camp. He had done nothing. He woke up in the first period against Florida – Big time speed on one rush mid first and then a gorgeous saucer pass to Andrew Shaw that landed right on his tape to elude the defender’s attempt. From there Shaw sent another sweet pass to Byron, and he roofed it nicely for the Habs opening goal. The Habs tried Danault with Galchenyuk and it didn’t work. Now with Shaw and Byron… that was sweet start to finish by all three players.
- – Paul Byron is the best shorthanded weapon in all of hockey. With his speed, the opponent is worried about holding the zone just in case the Habs gain possession. You can’t stop worrying what happens because the defender isn’t going to skate with him 120 feet. Byron scored shorthanded with a sweet move, his second of the night.
- – Byron-Danault-Shaw. Book it. Outstanding all night. All 3 goals with their names on it, though Byron’s was shorthanded. Shaw’s gorgeous roofer on the backhand.
- – I believe Charlie Lindgren should win the back up job over Al Montoya. They may also save cap room and be shipping these two goalies back and forth more than cocaine from Colombia to Miami. (Sorry, watched Narcos recently) Lindgren won’t be faulted on the goal when Dadonov steam rolled him. Just before it, Lindgren made a lateral push off his right leg that was world class. Right across the net laterally on a Florida breakaway, it was impressive. Lindgren has been impressive all camp. He’s an NHL goalie already. Tough call for the Habs here because they’re not going to be in a position to give two points away when it’s back up night. Lindgren seems more ready to provide the support but the GM Marc Bergevin was on TV Thursday and seemed to indicate Montoya would still be the back up.
- – Nice hands again, and smart choices by Charles Hudon. Not even a doubt that he’s on this team. Can you imagine that Vegas could have had him? I thought Vegas did weird things at the draft but they had a plan and have a truck load of picks to get good in 2020.
- – Victor Mete is still looking good. He lost Weber for Benn. They put him on a different side on the right side and he still had a strong game. His vision and decision making is off the charts good for 19. The way he picked his spot to join the rush to earn a break away was simply outstanding. To try that at 19, trying to make the team? Wow. He has to make this team for nine games at least, and we will see how he handles the more physical game that comes with the regular season.
- – Nikita Scherbak got called back from Laval because they needed the bodies and he made the most of it. That was a really solid game. He needs to find confidence though. He has a glorious chance alone from five feet out with the goalie needing to move over laterally… and he passed. That’s in the back of the net when he feels good about himself.
- – Karl Alzner quietly goes about his business. You really don’t notice him all that much but he plays sound and clean hockey. Smart decisions through out. Chooses the simple play.
- – His partner not so much. Jeff Petry had a rough game at times, including the push on Dadonov that could have injured his goalie. That would have been so bad.
- – It’s surprising to me to always see Mike McCarron separated from the puck during a one on one battle in the corners. This has to become his strength, not his weakness. No one should be better at blocking out bodies and using that reach to leave his opponents frustrated. I truly believe that is what he lacks. It isn’t skating. His first push is never going to be pretty, but it’s not an issue. The issue is he simply does not use that gigantic frame to good use winning puck battles.
- – Jakub Jerabek tried a hit in the first period and he got bounced. It was just a small moment but oh my it didn’t look good. Not sure the physical game in North America is for him, but it’s early. He will need a longer look. I liked him offensively, but I don’t think he’s ready for the time and space he will be given playing defence in the NHL yet.
- – Alex Galchenyuk don’t got game right now. He’s moved down to the fourth line and if he doesn’t smarten up, they’re going to have to find a fifth line role for him. He just not doing anything, and now people will blame it on who he is is playing with – but Holland sure was better than he was. Confidence is a weird thing. At his last camp, coming off 30 goals, he was lights out. Galchenyuk will start the season on the fourth line but should start it on the first power play unit. That’s a good mix until he plays better 5 on 5 hockey.
- – 1 and 6. And breathe.