Future Canadiens de-claw Panthers
Jaroslav Halak slammed the door on the Panthers on Wednesday night turning away 43 of the 46 shots fired his way.
OTTAWA - The Canadiens prospects had to work a little overtime to get the job done on Wednesday night en route to their 4-3 OT win over the Florida Panthers to open the Rookie Tournament in Ottawa.
Trailing 3-2 to the start the third period, the Canadiens tied the game on a power play goal by Michael Lambert early in the frame on a play set up by Guillaume Latendresse, Montreal's second pick at this summer's draft.
The stage was then set for defenseman Sebastien Bisaillon to score the game-winner on a blast from inside the blue line just over one minute into the extra frame to sink the Panthers' prospects. Bisaillon, scored his goal despite his status as one of the handful of undrafted players on the team who were granted tryouts. A product of the QMJHL, the Mont-Laurier native had 48 points in 69 games with the Val D'Or Foreurs last season.
Fellow undrafted camp invitee Francis Lemieux also got on the scoresheet with Montreal's second goal of the evening on a play set-up by Maxim Lapierre and James Sandford. Also picking up assists on the night were 2005 pick Juraj Mikus of Slovakia and 2003 selection Cory Urquhart. Defenseman Andre Benoit opened the scoring miday through the first period with Lambert collecting an assist.
Jaroslav Halak was solid between the pipes for the Canadiens with the 2003 draft pick making 43 stops, including turning away 30 of the last 31 shots he faced. Since being drafted 271st overall by Canadiens in 2003, Halak has turned a number of heads with his play with both the QMJHL's Lewiston MAINEiacs and as the go-to goalie for Team Slovakia at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The Canadiens rookies will now take on the Maple Leafs on Thursday night, the Hurricanes on Friday, before wrapping things up versus the Senators on Saturday night.
NOTES: 2003 second-round pick Maxim Lapierre had a busy night leading both teams with five hits to go with his assist... Habs' heavyweight Jimmy Bonneau made his presence felt by dropping the gloves with Team Canada World Junior star Anthony Stewart in the first period.. Cory Urquhart led the Canadiens with six shots on goal in addition to assisting on the game winner.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com