QUEBEC CITY - The Canadiens' preseason opener on Monday night against the Boston Bruins was essentially a parade to the penalty box.
Forty minutes in penalties were handed out during the contest, which Claude Julien's troops ultimately dropped by a score of 3-2 in front of 9,248 fans at the Videotron Centre.
Those 15 minor penalties and one major infraction, according to the Canadiens' bench boss, prevented any player in his lineup from delivering a standout performance in the first of eight exhibition games on the schedule.
Phillip Danault was certainly in agreement there.
"It definitely broke the rhythm of the game. We started well, but the penalties - playing 4-on-4 and 5-on-3 - it broke the rhythm for certain players," insisted Danault, following the one-goal loss to their Original Six rivals. "I think we're all happy the first one's done. We were running around a bit all over the place. But, we definitely didn't play 60 minutes. That's for sure, and they ended up winning."
Video: Danault on the rhythm of the game
Eric Gelinas also noted the lack of sustained pace in his postgame comments. Gelinas was making his preseason debut with the Canadiens after coming on board on a professional tryout in the weeks leading up to training camp.
"It was a bizarre game, with the number of penalties and the number of stoppages. There wasn't a lot of pace to it," said Gelinas, whose brother, Karl, was in attendance to cheer him on after claiming the Can-Am League title with the Quebec Capitales on September 14th. "I tried to make the most of the chances I did have, but it was tough to really stand out."
Nevertheless, Gelinas enjoyed everything about the experience of sporting the CH in the provincial capital.
"I wasn't nervous. I was excited. It's a really good opportunity for me and it's up to me to make the best of it," explained Gelinas, who split time between the Colorado Avalanche and their AHL affiliate - the San Antonio Rampage - last year. "I feel just like I felt back in Junior, and it was one of my first pro camps. I felt just like I was 18 or 19 years old again."
Video: Gelinas on his first preseason outing
Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring just 50 seconds into the second period, tipping a Joe Morrow shot past Bruins starter Malcolm Subban. Then, just 88 seconds later, Jeremy Gregoire put the Canadiens up by two with a strong effort in front off a shot by Michael McCarron.
"I'd say the best way to describe my game is combative. I'm not necessarily an electrifying player, but I'm efficient. That's my goal," described the 22-year-old right-winger. "I saw Mike with the puck and I knew where he was going to put it. I told myself that I had to go to the crease."
The Bruins rallied with three successive goals, though, in a span of 3:55 in the middle frame to seal the deal.
Alex Galchenyuk put Monday night's defeat in context.
"This is what preseason is for. If this was a regular season game, it would have been a different story. But, preseason is to get ready, work hard and go out there and be prepared as we can for October 5th," emphasized Galchenyuk, one of five Canadiens players held without a shot on goal, along with Daniel Audette, Byron Froese, Antoine Waked and Brett Lernout. "Obviously, any game you play, you go out there and try to produce for your team and get the win, but it didn't happen. We'll just move on to the next one."
Video: Galchenyuk on the Canadiens' preseason opener
That will come soon enough, with the Canadiens playing host to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night before entertaining the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.