MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Monday night's 3-0 preseason loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
An injury update on Carey Price
During his postgame press conference, head coach Claude Julien revealed that goaltender Carey Price was unable to suit up against the Maple Leafs after suffering a bruised hand.
According to the veteran bench boss, the 32-year-old Anahim Lake, BC native's injury isn't anything serious and presents no cause for concern.
"It was his glove hand. When he went to see the doctor, the doctor said that for precautionary reasons we're going to keep him out for a few days," explained Julien, before shedding some additional light on a timetable for Price's return. "That's all it is, so you should see him back on the ice hopefully before the end of the week."
That explains why Charlie Lindgren made his second preseason start and was backed up by Keith Kinkaid.
The 25-year-old Lakeville, MN native, who was notified that he'd be playing at the morning skate, turned aside 22 of 25 shots in a losing effort.
"You've got to give credit to them. We talked about it in the dressing room beforehand. They don't have a ton of NHL experience, so we knew they were going to come in and play hard at the Bell Centre. It's a very fun place to play," said Lindgren, regarding the tilt against a Toronto squad consisting primarily of AHL players. "They worked hard tonight and they've got a lot of skill."
That was a rough one
The Canadiens offered up a lackluster performance on Monday night, and suffered their first defeat of the preseason in the process.
When asked to evaluate his club's effort, Julien didn't mince words.
"We didn't play a good game. We didn't skate well. When we skate well, everything falls into place. Tonight, we didn't skate well and compete enough. We didn't get back on defense, which meant that the transition game wasn't good either. We weren't coming back fast. We were playing a club that was pretty much an AHL squad. They were 20 hungry players that worked hard all game. They gave us trouble," said Julien. "If there were guys who believed it would be an easy game, they didn't prepare well and it was a good lesson for everyone. You can't suddenly be prepared to play after two periods. It's too late. A loss sometimes brings everyone back down to earth, so we hope that will be the case."
Video: Korshkov, Hutchinson power Maple Leafs to shutout win
Nate Thompson echoed Julien's thoughts during his media availability.
"They outbattled and outworked us. We had a lot of one-and-done chances, and we weren't really getting to the net. That was kind of it. It was pretty black and white. They outworked us and they got results," stressed Thompson. "I think guys have to know that it doesn't matter what lineup is in, it doesn't matter who they have over there, it's an NHL hockey game and guys are coming to work and play. Some guys are getting the chance to play in the NHL, and they're going to make the most of it. They did and we didn't."
Video: Nate Thompson on the Canadiens' effort level
Four more cuts
Shortly after the final buzzer, the Canadiens reassigned forwards Riley Barber, Alex Belzile and Jake Evans, along with defenseman Josh Brook, to the Laval Rocket.
Barber, however, will have to clear waivers before reporting to the Habs' AHL affiliate.
There's no denying that Evans, in particular, made a solid impression on Julien all training camp long.
Video: MTL@OTT: Evans tallies on Barber's big effort
"There was very good progress in his case, especially when we compare things to last year, his first year," praised Julien. "We played him on the penalty kill on several occasions, and he was very good. He's heading in the right direction, but he needs some more time in the minors to keep on improving."