Forward lines and defense pairings
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Kotkaniemi – Armia
Byron – Plekanec – Scherbak
Shinkaruk – McCarron – Ward
Alzner – Petry
Mete – Juulsen
Reilly – Benn
Jonathan Drouin was hit in the mouth with a puck by Victor Mete during warm-ups. After repairs he was able to play. Drouin finished the game pointless. Mike Reilly was also blanked on the scoresheet and finished the game with a minus-1 rating.
Reilly and Drouin were tonight’s second and third stars of the game respectively. Well, it’s the pre-season for everyone.
The game’s first star was pointless as well. In fact, Jesperi Kotkaniemi ended the game without a shot on goal. But Kotkaniemi showed stretches of strong play and a little bad luck, hitting a crossbar and two posts.
With Max Domi on the shelf for the rest of the pre-season, Kotkaniemi slotted in between Jonathan Drouin and fellow countryman Joel Armia. And the 18-year-old didn’t look out of place at all. Despite the fact that they didn’t score, truth be told, the Kotkaniemi line had a lot more jump and a few more opportunities than with Domi at the helm.
With Domi serving his suspension and Nick Suzuki suffering a minor injury, the door was wide open for Kotkaniemi on Saturday night. And he more than answered the call.
Nikiita Scherbak scored his second goal of the pre-season in as many games. For a team looking to replace the offence of Pacioretty and Galchenyuk, Scherbak could be a contributor. He was a nice fit on a line with Tomas Plekanec (72 percent at the faceoff dot) and Paul Byron (who also picked up a goal.)
After falling behind by two goals, the Canadiens struck quickly scoring three goals in 3:16 (at the end of the second period and beginning of the third) for the victory.
▲ Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nikita Scherbak, Tomas Plekanec, Noah Juulsen
▼ Michael McCarron, Hunter Shinkaruk