The Canadiens’ dropped their first preseason game Sunday, but there were bright spots in their 5-4 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Canadiens’ first-round draft pick Michael McCarron turned in a strong performance at the Bell Centre, collecting two assists and playing a physical game.
“That was his best presence on the ice,” Coach Michel Therrien said.
“It’s not always easy for big guys like that to play in scrimmages and to play against veteran players on their own team,” Therrien said.
“But like I said (Saturday) this is the next step to the training camp– exhibition games, competing against other teams, other players. We saw that (tonight) he stepped up his game physically.”
McCarron played on a line with Martin St. Pierre and Michaël Bournival that led the Habs’ offense. Bournival, who played for the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, scored twice and St. Pierre added a goal in the third period.
“I thought our line clicked really well tonight,” McCarron said.
Therrien also said he likes Bournival’s quickness and the fact that he never stops working.
Things got testy in the third period when Alex Galchenyuk checked Sabres’ defenseman Jamie McBain, knocking him down. Patrick Kaleta went after Galchenyuk and then Brendan Gallagher tried to come to his linemate’s defense. Later in the period Brandon Prust cross-checked Kaleta who fell to the ice and received a diving penalty. Prust was also penalized on the play.
Only a handful of Canadiens’ veterans played against the Sabres, including linemates Gallagher, Lars Eller and Galchenyuk.
“I thought we had six or seven young guys who could play junior this year in the same lineup tonight,” Therrien said. “So I’m really pleased about the way they competed.”
You can listen to what McCarron had to say after the game here:
Canadiens’ prospect Zachary Fucale shared the goaltending duties with Budaj. You can listen to what Fucale said here:
(Video: Brenda Branswell)