Despite building up a 3-0 lead and playing a strong first half, the Canadiens did anything but back away and eventually clawed their way to victory.
One of the brightest lights of the night came from Zack Smith who potted two goals in the first period, including a shorthanded marker, and even got into a scrap with Jarred Tinordi in the third period. The line of Smith, Erik Condra and Mike Hoffman was one of, if not the hardest working trio of the night.
“I thought he played real good,” said Paul MacLean of Smith’s performance after the game. “[He] showed what kind of player he is, a character guy that cares about his teammates in the game and I thought he played a very good game.”
Tonight’s game also marked the first time captain Daniel Alfredsson has seen real game action since February. MacLean said he skated well, had some good shots on net and played an overall good game considering how he’d be previously out.
With the regular season just around the corner, many wonder if this game was a foreshadow of what the Senators will look like this year. They provided a good, entertaining game but tailed off in the last half that resulted in the eventual loss.
As fans of the team, it’s hard to immediately write off this group and condemn them to another year of futility and the best of people hope for pleasant surprises at the very least. It’s no secret that the veterans on the team need to lead by example in order for the young talent to compliment them.
MacLean was quick to say good things about the games of Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek tonight, which gives an indication that they’re communicating well with the new bench boss. It will most likely take a few games, week even, into the regular season to get a sense of the identity of these “new” Senators but that’s all part of the growing process.
Spezza was the lone Senator to score in the shootout while Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole (game winner) scored for the Canadiens.
The Senators continue their pre-season with rematch against the Canadiens tomorrow night in Montreal followed by the Kraft Hockeyville game on Monday against the Winnipeg Jets in Conception Bay, N.L.