Energetic Habs are ready to play

JEAN-PHILIPPE BERTRAND, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

BROSSARD, Que. - The Montreal Canadiens launched their first official day of training camp Saturday with 57 players keen on pleasing bench boss Jacques Martin.

"The first impression is always important," Martin said, seemingly satisfied with his squad's performance at the Canadiens' training centre south of Montreal. "I found there was a good level of energy."

Newcomer Lars Eller, picked up by the Canadiens when playoff hero Jaroslav Halak was traded to the St. Louis Blues this summer, came ready to play.

"Lars was one of the players who really impressed me, especially his vision of the game," said the Canadiens coach.

Maxim Lapierre also put his best foot forward, leading Team A to a 5-2 win over Team B with two goals during the scrimmage.

"I worked hard this summer," he said. "I dropped a lot of the weights, the dumbbells, to work mainly on my speed and endurance."

The Quebec-born attacker finished last season below expectations.

He was re-signed for one year in July and said he wanted to use this season as a springboard to a longer contract.

Lapierre said he wants to more than double his scoring, contributing 15 to 20 goals this time around. The Montreal native scored seven times in the 2009-10 season.

Meanwhile, goalie Carey Price received a warm welcome, skating onto the ice to the sound of fans chanting his name.

"It's reassuring for Carey, it will give him confidence," Martin said.

Price had the starting job wrested away from him by Halak last season but is back in the top spot.

The netminder stopped 11 of 13 shots during Saturday's scrimmage. But tryout Peter Delmas did him one better by stopping 18 of 19 shots.


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