MONTREAL – The Canadiens’ first preseason game showed that David Reinbacher naturally understands the offensive deployment, that Logan Mailloux plays smoothly and that Josh Anderson and Alex Newhook are ready to take advantage of their speed in each of their own way.
Here, in more detail, some observations from this 4-2 game against a small sample of the New Jersey Devils.
Mailloux is easily comfortable
In 2023 hockey, defensemen will no longer be able to anchor their skates in the defensive zone like in the era of Peter Popovic, Craig Ludwig or Ken Daneyko.
Logan Mailloux is a little far from this profile. In his very first preparatory game with the Canadian, he did not hesitate to support the attack, to carry the puck, to take risks – sometimes daring – in the offensive zone.
Honing at the professional level will enable him to do his best to eliminate some of the mistakes in his arsenal. But his offensive talent, his physicality and his strong shot will help the Canadian for many seasons.
Against the Devils, his fluid game was quickly found. His collapse late in the game is an example of this.
Great vision from Reinbacher
For Reinbacher, it is understandable to be more cautious in his first preparatory match in North America. As such, he controls most of his actions thanks to his intelligence.
Without a doubt, his biggest contribution was his assist on Josh Anderson’s goal. Reinbacher skillfully picked up on Alex Newhook’s intentions and then moved into offensive territory to receive his pass and shoot the puck into the net. Anderson just had to push back into the cage.
Aside from this game that showcased his offensive nature, Reinbacher had a respectable outing. However, he misplaced the puck a few times. We especially remember when he stole the puck deep in the defensive zone so Dawson Mercer almost scored.
Another time, he lacked a little confidence by removing the disc too quickly.
On another occasion, he handled the Devils’ pressure to start again very well.
Slafkovsky tried to get along with Newhook and Anderson
The trio that brings together Alex Newhook, Juraj Slafkovsky and Josh Anderson looks very interesting on paper. In action, we know that the Slovak will need time to acclimatize the two veterans who are already switching gears to stand up.
Slafkovsky remains very young and experience will allow him to develop his offensive assets against fierce competition. We conclude that the Canadiens coaches will want to be patient with him during training camp. After all, his last game was on January 15.
Like Newhook and Anderson, they are CH’s two most dynamic players. Anderson could add two more goals to his haul getting two breakaways without threading the needle.
The impressive winger will not be happy to remain on Newhook’s right this season.
The offensive nature of Joshua Roy
There are players whose natural talent will always stand up even against NHL caliber. Joshua Roy falls into this category. His goal was excellent as he completed Xavier Simoneau’s pass with a lively and perfect shot.
Xhekaj shrugged his shoulders
Whether it’s a preseason game, last year’s rookie tournament or the regular season, Arber Xhekaj doesn’t slow down with shoulder shots.
Additionally, he didn’t release veteran Tyler Toffoli for several seconds in a row. We would like to hear what message Toffoli has to convey to him.
Dobes was helpless against Mercer and Hughes
Goalie Samuel Montembeault played half the game and gave way to Jakub Dobes as the Devils led 2 to 1. Poor Dobes did nothing against two fantastic maneuvers by Jack Hughes on the power play.
Hughes cleared Anderson to find Dawson Mercer in the mouth of the net. Then he only needed a second to shoot into the back of the net.
In this game, the Devils dominated the power play with three goals compared to just one for Montreal.
Otherwise, Dobes was able to rattle off some good saves.
Let’s add that Montembeault was very unlucky with Simon Nemec’s goal from the red line! As well as these goals come during the preparatory games.