MONTREAL - Despite dropping a 3-1 decision to the Hurricanes at the Bell Centre on Saturday night, the Canadiens proved to their opponents that they would not be pushed around.
In a tilt that was physical early and often, two young Habs led the way for their teammates. Defenseman Jarred Tinordi made the most of his second match in as many days, registering a team-high four hits, while also dropping the gloves with hard-nosed Carolina rearguard Tim Gleason.
“I tried to play simple. My first game, I was a little bit more physical, then I kind of let off a little bit the last two games. I wanted to go back to my style of hockey,” stated Tinordi.
Evidently, his style of hockey involved throwing all of his 227 pounds into opposing players.
“When I saw the guys in the middle with their heads down, I just tried to step up,” added the Millersville, MD native.
Tinordi did, however, admit that it’s not always easy to play that way game after game.
“It’s tough when you’re a young player. You might be used to throwing these hits in Junior, but it’s faster and the players are smarter [in the NHL],” explained the 21-year-old. “It’s tougher to make those plays, but once you’ve adjusted to the speed and things like that, it gets a little easier.”
The 6-foot-6 blueliner’s truculence must have rubbed off on right winger Brendan Gallagher, who also asserted himself physically by dropping the gloves against Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe.
“I was going off the ice, and [Gerbe] just turned around and slashed me. We took a look at each other and didn’t say anything. There was kind of an awkward moment there, so I just thought to myself, start punching!” recalled Gallagher, who laughed sheepishly when recounting the scene.
The welterweight bout did not last long before the players were separated by the linesmen and sent to the penalty box. No doubt realizing he is more valuable to his team as a scorer rather than a fighter, Gallagher kept his gloves on for the rest of the game, and racked up two shots on goal to go along with a plus-1 rating.
Last season’s Calder Trophy runner-up finished the contest on the plus side with the help of linemate Michael Bournival, the lone Canadiens player who managed to solve Carolina’s Anton Khudobin on a night when the Russian netminder turned aside 41 of 42 shots against. Bournival’s team-leading fourth goal of the preseason came late in the third period when the 21-year-old Shawinigan, QC native lit the lamp by tipping an Andrei Markov shot past the former seventh-round selection.
Head coach Michel Therrien was pleased with his decision to slot Bournival alongside Gallagher and Lars Eller to wrap up the Habs’ second game in as many nights against the Hurricanes.
“[Bournival] is hot right now, for sure,” affirmed Therrien, who has watched the rugged left winger step up in each of the three preseason games he’s played. “Tonight, we tried putting him in a different situation, [on the wing with] Eller and Gallagher. We wanted to see how he would perform with two established NHL players.”
Given the manner in which Bournival has demonstrated a mix of speed, physicality and scoring ability during the preseason, he might just stick around with the big club a little while longer.Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOThe Numbers Game – September 21, 2013 Bournival strikes againCalm before the storm Taking flight