MONTREAL – If Monday’s preseason game between the Habs and the Panthers was foreshadowing for what’s to come in 2010-11, the future certainly looks bright in Montreal.
While training camp may be about giving promising young prospects their time to shine, it was a few key veterans who led the way for the Canadiens in their fifth preseason game. Notching his third and fourth goals of the exhibition schedule, including a shorthanded wraparound in the first period, Tomas Plekanec
appears to be picking up right where he left off last year.
“For the guys who were here last year, we’re on the same page, we know what we’re doing and we’ve got a lot of things rolling,” described Plekanec of his continued chemistry with winger Michael Cammalleri. “I’m sure it’s going to be a big improvement for us compared to where we started last year. We need to take it step by step.
“But training camp is more about the kids than it is about us veterans,” continued Plekanec, who now leads all NHLers with four goals in the preseason. “We can see here that we have plenty of good, young players who can jump in at any time if something happens. A lot of players proved they can play on this team and that’s great to see from the young guys who are here.”
One of those young stars looking to make the most of his time on the top line was Plekanec’s other linemate for the evening, Lars Eller
. The 21-year-old Dane thrived alongside the two snipers, chipping in with three assists in his 17:08 of ice time.
“I had two really good players helping me out and they made it really easy for me. I just tried not to slow them down too much,” joked Eller, who was named the night’s third star for his efforts. “I’m trying to do everything I can and we’ll see if it’s enough. You’ve only got so many games to prove you belong here and it’s narrowing down now and it’s starting to heat up.”
On the same night he received the Jean Beliveau Trophy for his contributions in the community, Maxim Lapierre was just as involved on the ice for the Canadiens. While the gritty winger didn’t end up lighting the lamp for the home team, he did almost everything else to help the cause on Monday night.
“It was a good game. You can see that we’re getting better on the little details and as the training camp goes along, guys are more used to playing together and we’re just going to get better and better,” explained Lapierre, who led the Habs with three blocked shots and fired four shots on net. “We’re not right where we want to be for the beginning of the season, but it’s coming slowly. We still have time – the season starts on October 7 and we’re working on those details and we’ll be ready.”
One young player intent on making Jacques Martin’s final roster decision a difficult one, Ryan White
threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Panthers in his third preseason game of the year. In addition to sliding a beautiful goal passed Jacob Markstrom in the third period, White also chipped in with two shots, two hits, a plus-2 differential and a fight to earn himself second-star honors. He even tried getting in an extra faceoff after receiving a game misconduct penalty during the tilt.
“No one told me I was out of the game. I thought I as still eligible to play; I guess I wasn’t,” laughed White, who ended up coming out in his socks to salute the crowd when he heard his name called as the night’s second star.
“Hey, it was worth a shot,” laughed head coach Jacques Martin of his young center’s attempts to stay in the game. “Give him an ‘A’ for effort,”
It’s exactly that kind of extra effort that might have young stars like White calling Montreal home a lot longer than anticipated. Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.Read also:
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