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OTT@MTL: Best for last

Habs end preseason with a convincing nine-goal effort against Ottawa

by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL -- With a grueling eight games in 13 days, the Habs decided to save their best for last.

Case in point, after putting up just nine goals through a winless first six games of the exhibition schedule, the Canadiens matched that total in 60 minutes on Saturday.

Moreover, the Habs have also lit the lamp 12 times in the last two outings, and now head into the regular season on a high note.

"In training camp you want to try to peak at the right time, and I think we have. I thought the score didn't really show what [tonight's] game was like," described captain Max Pacioretty, who was one of three Habs who enjoyed a three-point night, along with linemates Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin. "I thought we skated really well in the second period especially, and grinded them down.

Video: Max Pacioretty on peaking at the right time

"Yeah, the game [eventually] got out of hand, but I thought it was because we played well and not because they played poorly, especially at the start," continued the American winger. "[The past two nights] we skated really well and were able to grind teams down -- often when we win, that seems to be the common denominator. That's how we want to win games."

So what triggered the sudden reversal of fortunes?

With so many new faces in the lineup, it may have have simply had something to do with getting settled in.

"You kind of saw us gelling throughout the preseason," explained assistant captain Shea Weber, who had three first-year Habs on the blue line Saturday. "Things didn't go as well as we wanted at the start, but as we got together at the end, things got better. There's still room for improvement, so we're going to continue working until the start of the regular season."

Thirteen different Habs got onto the scoresheet against Ottawa, as even goaltender Carey Price picked up and assist on Victor Mete's tally to cap the scoring.

Video: OTT@MTL: Mete taps home his own rebound for a PPG

But the night's biggest ovation was for the Mete himself, one of camp's most pleasant surprises this season at just 19 years of age.

"It's good to see that even when the score is 9-2, the crowd still goes at it," cracked the Woodbridge, ON native, who found the back of the net for the first time with 6:17 left in regulation. "It was a good atmosphere in here tonight for sure. All the guys were happy for me too. They were all giving me fistbumps and handshakes, so it was good."

And like Mete's teammates and the fans, head coach Claude Julien also liked what he saw as the curtain fell on preseason.

"We saw what we were hoping to see. The last two games were much better, with a smaller group of guys than we started the week with," concluded the Habs bench boss. "Now comes the hard part for our team, and I can't say anyone had a tough game tonight. Everyone played well, and it showed on the scoreboard."

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