What a short off-season. After so many Lockouts, I've forgotten that hockey generally starts in the early autumn. Even earlier when there's an 18 day break in February for the Olympics.
I don't think you can learn much more from a preseason hockey game as you can a preseason football or spring training baseball game. The Canadiens started Carey Price, and most of their top defensemen. But obviously the matchups and intensity you'd experience in a regular season game were absent.
Jarome Iginla looked sharp. He scored two goals, once on the power play. For the PP goal he drifted into a soft pocket of the Montreal zone. Lucic passed wing-to-wing and Iginla had time and space to beat Price. That ability to find scoring areas BEFORE they become scoring areas is a trademark of a great scorer. And he finished both goals with expert precision and power. It's nice to finally have him in Boston.
Nick Johnson scored two goals. One was more Carey Price letting a puck slip through him. Or maybe the reduced pad-sizes mandated by the NHL was the culprit. Johnson's second goal was more impressive. He blocked a shot, broke away, tried Price's 5 hole, was denied, then showed some nice hands to beat Price at the post.
I wasn't impressed with goalie Chad Johnson, who all expect to be Tuukka Rask's backup this season. Johnson didn't glove a puck he should have had, which resulted in a goal shortly thereafter. P.K. Subban's high slot shot was too fast for Johnson to react to, even though he had a clear view and should anticipate that shot from Subban all the time. And he couldn't squeeze his pads together quick enough on the third goal he allowed.
Backup goalies aren't the most important thing in the world, but if Rask is forced to play 75 games because of a crap backup, or if Rask gets hurt and has to miss a week or two, that's when you need a backup goalie who won't give up soft goals like Johnson did last night.
Malcolm Subban looked okay, but inexperienced. He got a penalty for handling the puck outside of the trapezoid. Which demonstrates just how raw he is. Another year in Juniors will do him well.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes