September 29, 2016 - 8:36 PM
MONTREAL - If Mikhail Sergachev had butterflies in his NHL debut, Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien didn't notice.
Montreal's first-round draft pick in 2016 lived up to the hype despite the Canadiens losing 4-3 in overtime against Ottawa in NHL pre-season action on Thursday night.
Sergachev took five shots, blocked one, recorded an assist and had five hits in 19:57 of work.
"He played a great first game," Therrien said. "He played with a lot of confidence for a young player. He was composed with the puck, never got rid of it for no reason.
"He was poised, he's a good skater and he's strong. He's a heck of a hockey player."
The 18-year-old Sergachev, who was picked ninth overall at this year's draft, was used in all facets of the game: even strength, power play and penalty kill.
The Russian got his first point in a Canadiens uniform when his shot from inside the faceoff circle was deflected by Brendan Gallagher past goalie Chris Driedger in the first period.
"It was much faster than the OHL," admitted Sergachev, who played 67 games for the Windsor Spitfires last season. "It was kind of tough. I just have to get used to it. I was nervous in the first 10 minutes. My legs were shaking.
"For a first game it wasn't bad. I got some confidence."
Sergachev was on the ice when Mike Hoffman scored his first of two goals to lead the Senators to victory.
Hoffman scored at 7:26 of the second period to make it 3-2 for Ottawa, then added the game winner 19 seconds into overtime.
In the extra frame, a bad giveaway by Alex Galchenyuk deep in his own zone fell right on Hoffman's stick. The Sens forward beat Mike Condon top shelf.
"I was covering high and the puck just squirted out to the middle of the ice and I jumped in," said Hoffman of his overtime winner. "It was right on my tape. I should be scoring those every time."
The Senators didn't get many shots on target in the first period but when they did, they made them count.
Ottawa (2-0-1) scored on its first two shots of the game. The visitors had a total three shots in the opening 20 minutes, but that didn't stop them from taking a 2-1 lead to the dressing room.
Montreal's Condon, making his second start of the pre-season, was hardly to blame for either goal.
On the first, at 1:41, Matt Puempel was left all alone in front of the net after Habs defenceman Zach Redmond whiffed on a bouncing puck in the slot.
Redmond later made up for the mistake, scoring his second of the pre-season at the halfway point of the second period.
On Ottawa's second shot of the game, at 7:07 of the first, Bobby Ryan found himself all alone at the side of the net after a fake shot-turned-pass by Derick Brassard fooled Montreal's defence.
The Canadiens (1-1-1) outshot the Senators 40-19 in regulation time.
"(Being outshot) wasn't obviously what we had planned," added Hoffman. "We know they always come out strong in the first period. We weren't really ready."
Michael McCarron got Montreal on the board at 2:22 of the first period, 41 seconds after Puempel scored the opener. The six-foot-six centre streaked down the wing then went backhand to forehand to beat Driedger five-hole.
Driedger stopped 18-of-21 shots before being replaced midway through the second period by Matt O'Connor, who stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief.
"It wasn't very pretty, but the guys rallied really hard, blocked a lot of shots at the end," said O'Connor. "It was a great team effort."
Max Pacioretty made his first appearance of the year for Montreal after missing the team's first two pre-season games. The Habs captain finished the night with one assist and six shots on goal.
Notes: The teams combined for 30 penalty minutes. … The Habs get a chance at revenge when the two clubs meet again in pre-season action on Saturday in Ottawa.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016