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Shining extra bright

Victor Mete offered up another solid performance on Monday night in Toronto, demonstrating maturity beyond his years

by Matt Cudzinowski @canadiensmtl /

TORONTO - Victor Mete passed his second preseason test with flying colors on Monday night.

With family members aplenty in attendance at Ricoh Coliseum, the 19-year-old defenseman continued to demonstrate the poise and finesse that has made him a real standout on the back end since training camp began.

"I thought I played pretty good. I thought I held my own and I thought it was a successful game for me," said Mete, who fed fellow rearguard Jeff Petry for the lone Canadiens' goal in a 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs down Highway 401. "There was quite a bit of family here. I was able to get the support from them. I'm lucky."

Video: MTL@TOR: Petry hammers blistering one-timer for PPG

The Woodbridge, ON native wasn't the least bit intimidated going up against a Maple Leafs lineup featuring one big gun after another, including Auston Matthews, James van Riemsdyk, Patrick Marleau and his former London Knights teammate, Mitch Marner. 

"Obviously, I was looking at their lineup and I was kind of like - 'Oh, they're pretty much playing their whole team.' - so I was kind of excited for the competition, just to see how I could do against those players," mentioned Mete, who was back playing alongside veteran Shea Weber. "For sure, growing up watching players like Marleau, it was cool to play against him. And, obviously playing with Marner, being able to play against him now at the next level I think was special."

Knowing full well that Mike Babcock's squad was coming into the contest with some serious firepower in tow, Mete took a mature approach to his first taste of game action since last Wednesday night against Washington.

"It was kind of like, just play my game and jump in when I can and seize the opportunity, but stay back so I don't get myself out of position," explained Mete, who now leads all Canadiens players with a pair of helpers during the preseason. "Do it when the opportunity arises and I know I have someone supporting me, but if no one's back there, I'm not going to go out there and make it a 2-on-1 against us or a 3-on-2."

Video: Victor Mete on his performance against Toronto

Mission accomplished, according to Petry.

"This is the first time I've gotten to see him play and played with him, so I saw a couple of times out there where he's very poised with the puck, not quick to throw it away and he skates well," praised Petry. "I can think of the time where he wheeled and had a guy on his back and protected the puck. That goes a long way."

Likewise, head coach Claude Julien believes the Canadiens' fourth-round pick in 2016 is most definitely holding his own with the big boys.

"He was a bright light in our game against Toronto, the way he handled himself against a lot of NHL players," said Julien, following his club's fifth straight defeat. "I thought he was good. He played the puck well. He skates well. You can see he's gaining confidence here with his game at this level. It's nice to see that."

Video: Claude Julien on Monday night's loss in Toronto

So, is Mete still in the mix to crack the Canadiens' roster despite his young age and inexperience at the pro level? 

"Right now, I would say it's open," mentioned Julien, on Mete's chances of being around come opening night in Buffalo on October 5th. "As we speak right now, he's doing pretty well for himself."

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