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Habs grinders go Wild in win

Game four of the pre-season saw the Canadiens win 4-3 and even their record at 2-2, as a Koivu and Brunette-less Minnesota Wild were held to a meager fourteen shots by a stifling Canadiens defence.

The Habs dominated most this game, holding a shot advantage of 22-5 through the second period. Alex Auld played the entire game, looking good for most of it despite a lack of action and the .786 SVP on the night. Without question, the prettiest goal of the game was scored by Minnesota’s Justin Falk, who capped an impressive end to end rush by splitting the defence and beating Auld to his right.

For the Habs, Dustin Boyd stood out, playing an effective two-way game while scoring a goal for the second game in a row. Boyd stands out for his effort, which is consistent shift to shift, and the energy and poise he brings to the bottom six. If this brand of play continues, Canadiens fans will very soon forget the name Sergei Kostitsyn.

Ryan White also played the sort of complete game that will be noticed by the coaching staff, notching a goal himself on four shots while being his usual physical self. Ian Schultz played sparingly but also looked good, setting up an Andreas Engqvist goal early. Schultz scrapped in the second with Petr Kalus of the Wild and would end the night with only seven minutes played.

The dazzle, however, continued to be provided by PK Subban, who displayed more slick moves along with his usual competitive spirit and effervescent approach to the game. While he didn’t hit the scoresheet this time around he continues to provide relief to Habs fans nervous about potentially starting the season minus Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik.

Max Pacioretty also deserves a mention after a lacklustre start to his camp. Pacioretty recorded two assists and ended the night +2, as he continues in his attempt to nail down a roster spot. It is quite possible that he and linemate Ryan White will be battling it out for the final forward spot.

News and Notes:

- Hockey Night in Canada noted Saturday night that rumours suggest the Minnesota Wild may be close to signing former Hab Jose Theodore as a replacement for Josh Harding, who has been lost for the season to a knee injury.

- The Canadiens play their fourth game in four nights tomorrow against the Florida Panthers. A rash of cuts are likely to follow, as the Habs prepare for their final two pre-season games, the last of which is at the Coliseé in Quebec City.

- Former Hab Mathieu Dandenault announced his retirement Saturday night. The native of Sherbrooke, Quebec won three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings and finished his career with four seasons in Montreal. Despite few major achievements with the Canadiens, Dandenault still had a hand in Habs history as he scored two goals (of Detroit’s eleven) in the rout that proved to be Patrick Roy’s last game with the Canadiens (nine goals were scored on Roy before he was pulled…or pulled himself). Another Dandy fact: Dandenault played Hal Laycoe in the movie The Rocket, chasing Maurice Richard (Roy Dupuis) around the ice before eventually hitting him over the head with his stick.

- Continuing the former Habs theme, Georges Laraque, Patrice Brisebois, PJ Stock and Russ Courtnall are all participating in this year’s edition of Battle of the Blades on CBC. Many commentators appear to be giving an edge to Brisebois right off the bat, due to his fluid skating and the fact he only recently retired. However, there is no contest when it comes to lifts – while many participants struggled to raise the female skaters above their heads, Laraque was doing it effortlessly with one hand. There’s a reason they call him Big Georges.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Montreal Canadiens, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dustin+boyd, max+pacioretty, max+pacioretty, pk+subban, pk+subban, ryan+white, ryan+white

Comments

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Theodore had good numbers with Washington last year. His numbers might even improve in Minnesota, as they play a more defensive style of game. I don’t know that he’d ratchet up the same number of wins, as Washington scored ad nauseum last year, but he’d be a dependable starter for 50-55 games.

Mind you, the Western Conference is considered the stronger conference, so repeating last year’s regular season success might not be easy.

But the real kicker: he wouldn’t have to face the Habs in the playoffs.

Posted by Briney on 09/27/10 at 11:36 AM ET

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I think Theodore would be a good fit in Minnesota. It would give him the opportunity to prove his numbers last season weren’t a fluke, which could in turn lead to a starting job next season. He’s had a rough go the past couple of years in his personal life, so I do hope he lands a job somewhere. I could also see him slotting in for Philadelphia if they are in need of a starter at some point this year.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 09/27/10 at 12:22 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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