Condon beats Leafs, continues to make case to be Canadiens’ backup goaltender

TORONTO — Mike Condon continues to make his case to be the Montreal Canadiens’ backup goaltender.

Condon stopped all 17 shots he faced Saturday night in a 1-0 shutout of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

In limited pre-season action, the 25-year-old hasn’t allowed a goal on 38 shots he has faced. He’s competing to unseat Dustin Tokarski, who backed up Carey Price last season and replaced him late in the 2014 playoffs.

“It’s not going to be an easy decision to make, obviously,” coach Michel Therrien said. “We’re going to let the camp keep going and dictate, and at the time we’re going to have to make a decision.”

Condon might have to continue wowing Montreal’s brass and coaching staff given that Tokarski is on a one-way contract and requires waivers to be sent to the American Hockey League. Condon has already excelled in that league.

Last season Condon had a 2.44 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 48 games. He’d figure to split time this year in St. John’s with young prospect Zach Fucale, but the undrafted product of Princeton University has impressed while working his way up the organizational ladder to earn this opportunity.

General manager Marc Bergevin was watching closely from up above, but Condon didn’t want to say whether he felt he could beat out Tokarski.

“I think every guy comes to training camp thinking they can make the team and they hope they do,” Condon said. “I’m the same way. I want to make the team and I want to work hard. Just happy to be here and happy to get the opportunity.”

This was Condon’s first start of the pre-season, though he got 33 minutes of action Thursday at Bell Centre and stopped every shot the Washington Capitals put on net.

Against the Leafs, he wasn’t often under fire, but when he was, Condon was up to the challenge. He stopped James van Riemsdyk and Peter Holland within seconds on one power play, then Holland on a rush in the third period.

“We only gave up like seven shots in the last two periods,” Therrien said. “But we had to make some saves, he looked pretty sharp.”

Condon survived getting run a handful of times by the Leafs, including one collision with Leo Komarov that led to a trainer checking on him before he stayed in the game. Condon was sharp in the game’s final minute, making the save on a difficult redirection as the Leafs were pressing with an extra attacker. 

Dale Weise scored the only goal of the game, his first-of the pre-season. James Reimer, who’s trying to beat out Jonathan Bernier for Toronto’s starting job, stopped the other 20 shots he faced and was hung out to dry on Weise’s goal.

Toronto coach Mike Babcock praised Reimer and said his team looked out of gas amid an intense training camp.

“It looked like the coaching staff has skated these guys right into the ground, and it looked like we don’t have a whole lot of jump,” Babcock said. “Thought we tried but we didn’t have any juice.”

The Habs and Leafs played a three-on-three overtime as NHL-recommended practice for the regular season. Van Riemsdyk scored just 44 seconds in.

Notes — Devin Setoguchi played on right wing with van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak as the Leafs audition players to replace Phil Kessel. Connor Brown spent an earlier exhibition game there. … Natalie Spooner and Kelly Terry of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s Toronto Furies took part in a ceremonial pre-game puck drop.

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Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press