MONTREAL – Drayson Bowman did what a player on a training camp try-out has to do in pre-season games—make himself noticed.
The 25-year-old accomplished that by scoring the game-winning goal with 48 seconds left in regulation time to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the rival Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
Bowman cashed in on some hustle from linemate Christian Thomas, who won a race in the Boston zone and fed the puck across the crease. Bowman lifted it over goalie Malcolm Subban, who otherwise had a strong period of action with nine saves on 10 shots.
I’ll take it,” said Bowman. “I just tried to get it up as quick as I can. Any goal feels good, exhibition or not.”
The Grand Rapids, Mich. native has played 176 NHL games, including 70 last season, for the Carolina Hurricanes, but now is trying to earn a contract with Montreal. A goal and an assist, even against a far-from complete Bruins lineup, should help.
“I try not to pay too much attention to that stuff,” he said. “I’ll let my play speak for itself.
“I’ve played a few games in this league, so I know what these training camp battles are about. It’s uncertain for me. I just wanted to come in and play the best I can and try to fit in somehow.”
Coach Michel Therrien said it was too early to tell if Bowman will earn a contract, but said his performance was “a first step in the right direction.”
Thomas had the tying goal in the second period and emerged with two points. The 22-year-old son of former NHL winger Steve Thomas is looking to erase the memory of the 2013 training camp, which ended with an injury.
“Last year at this time exactly I hurt myself and I was out for about four months,” said Thomas. “This time, I’m healthy and ready to prove myself.”
Jiri Sekac had Montreal’s other goal. Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser scored in the first period for Boston.
Only 1:17 in, first round pick Nikita Scherbak’s blind backpass was picked off by Spooner, who went in alone to beat Dustin Tokarski.
The teams exchanged power-play goals, with Fraser sniping from the slot at 9:12 and Sekac beating Niklas Svedberg on a shot that went off David Krejci’s stick at 19:52.
Svedberg was solid in the second, but Thomas tied the game on a power play at 16:49 from a wild scramble in front of the net.
The Bell Centre crowd greeted Subban, brother of Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban, with raspberries as he took over in Boston’s goal for the third frame. Subban stopped Joe Finlay in alone and made an alert save on Scherbak from the slot before giving up the winner.
Joey MacDonald, who stopped all 14 shots he faced, relieved Tokarski midway through the second. Tokarski allowed two goals on 10 shots.
Michael McCarron, Montreal’s 2013 first-round pick, suffered an arm or shoulder injury late in the second period when he went to the net against Boston’s David Warsofsky. He did not return. The team said he has an upper-body injury.
As is usual for early pre-season games, both sides rested most of their regulars. So Boston was without Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and other stars. Montreal’s first line, top defenceman Subban and goalie Carey Price were among the scratches for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens next have back-to-back exhibitions against the Colorado Avalanche, Thursday in Montreal and Friday in Quebec City.