Montreal Canadiens fans got a good idea of what the team's top prospect, Juraj Slafkovsky, was capable of in the Habs' opener of the rookie tournament on Thursday night. However, the CH lost 4 to 3 against the Sabers at the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo.
It was a great opportunity to see the first choice of the most recent draft of the League national defend the colors of CH in a match. Slafkovsky did not disappoint with his fighting spirit and speed.
Having caught the attention of two opposing defenders midway through the first period, he served a fine pass to fellow Slovak Filip Mesar, who was able to find himself alone against Sabers goalkeeper Beck Warm. He then made 2 to 0 for the hopes of the Canadian.
Emil Heineman, a forward acquired last season in the trade sending Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames, opened the scoring after entering opposing territory with Jordan Harris.
It was with their speed that the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge players hurt Buffalo's hopes the most. Owen Beck also found himself alone in front of Warm, who he beat with a sharp shot from the side of the mitt to reduce the deficit to a net in the third period.
The Canadiens nevertheless let slip a two-goal lead, while the Sabers scored four times in a row to take the lead. Tyson Kozak notably hit the target twice at the expense of goalkeeper Joe Vrbetic.
Montreal will have the opportunity to recover on Friday with a duel against the young players of the New Jersey Devils. They will conclude their stay in Buffalo with a meeting with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.