Connect with us

Montreal Canadiens

Final Test For Xhekaj, Slafkovsky & Guhle vs. ‘Meaner’ Sens Roster

Published

on

Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens will be putting top prospects Juraj Slafkovsky, Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj, amongst others, to a final test against a meaner Ottawa Senators roster.

The Canadiens are set to do battle against the Senators in their final preseason game at the J.K. Irving Centre in Bouctouche, NB this evening, in what is expected to be a rather heated game. There will be a few final auditions in tonight’s game, with just a handful of prospects being put to the test before the final wave of cuts in the next 24-to-48 hours.

Head Coach Martin St. Louis is in the final phase of his evaluation, and the players he dressed tonight have one more opportunity to impress the Canadiens’ bench boss before the curtains close on this preseason:

Final Test For Slafkovsky

Juraj Slafkovsky will be suiting up for his sixth preseason game in 13 days so far in this training camp, and will be paired with the speedy Rem Pitlick and the powerhorse Josh Anderson.

If Slafkovsky is to crack the Montreal Canadiens’ final roster, this is the kind of line he will most likely start on, especially once the injured Christian Dvorak returns to take his spot at centre.

Slafkovsky showed much more jump in his step on Thursday against the Senators, akin to his standout performance against the Maple Leafs on Monday, and he’ll have one more game to convince the Canadiens’ brass that he should start the season in Montreal.

Photo-Finish For Final Spots On Defence

Besides one unfortunate turnover against the Senators on Tuesday night, Kaiden Guhle has been a model of consistency throughout this training camp and is head-and-shoulders above his competition to claim a roster spot on the Canadiens’ blueline.

His pairing with David Savard has been solid from the get-go and should very well be a pairing on opening night if all things stay as they are. However, tonight he is being paired with Corey Schueneman and will be looked at to be the stabilizing force on that pairing throughout the game.

The same can be said about Arber Xhekaj, who will be playing yet another game against his favourite team. The colossal defenceman played a strong and structured game against the Senators on Thursday, but lining him up next to Wideman allows the Canadiens to test him in what would be a probable pairing.

Jordan Harris should not be discounted in this battle either, as he has looked the most responsible out of all of the Montreal Canadiens’ defensive prospects, and doing so playing on the right side as a leftie no less. He will be playing on his usual left side tonight next to Justin Barron, which could very well be the top pairing for the Laval Rocket should the two fail to stand out more against the Senators tonight.

Each shift will likely be evaluated in a direct manner to see how each prospect responds against the Senators throughout the game to see which of the trio is able to distinguish himself the most against adversity.

Meaner Senators

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith was outspoken about his disdain for the perceived liberties the Montreal Canadiens were taking on his star players and has decided to rest many of them in favour of more physical players like Mark Kastelic, Scott Sabourin and Austin Watson.

“We have a group that will be able to take care of that aspect,” said Smith on his lineup choices.

With Xhekaj making himself a ton of friends on the Senators over the last week due to his physical play and smash-mouth style of defence, he will have to be extra tonight.

 

Canadiens Full Lines Against Senators

Caufield-Monahan-Dadonov
Drouin-Dach-Gallagher
Slafkovsky-Pitlick-Anderson
Pezzetta-Evans-RHP

Xhekaj-Wideman
Guhle-Schueneman
Harris-Barron

Allen
Montembeault

1 Comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
habbernack

We also have a little sandpaper in the lineup.

Montreal Hockey Now in your Inbox

Get the latest breaking news, opinion and analysis from the Montreal Hockey Now team directly in your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.