Stellar Goaltending Secures Big Win For Habs
Habs fans anxiously awaiting the return of Carey Price got a preview when the star goalie was present for the pre-game ceremonies Tuesday night, but the real goaltending performance was in the Montreal net. Al Montoya, making his third consecutive start for the Canadiens secured his first shutout since 2013. The 36 save effort by the veteran backup goalie came in front of 21,273 fans at the sold out home opener in Montreal.
Success in net is something that has been sorely lacking for Montreal since last November when Price went down with a season ending knee injury. Rookie Mike Condon was unable to live up to the pressures in Montreal, and was forced to watch Tuesday’s game from the Pittsburgh bench, having signed with the team just two weeks ago. The victory means that the Habs are now 2-0-1 to start the season and is the first time that the team has taker 5 of a possible 6 points since Price’s injury.
Montoya Supported by Strong Offensive Effort
The efforts of Al Montoya in the Montreal net were supported by the continuing success of the Habs offensive lines. The team now has 11 goals in its first 3 games, all while allowing only 4 against.
Habs Captain Max Pacioretty opened the scoring only 23 seconds into the game, rifling a shot past Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The goal is the fastest at a home opener in Montreal Canadiens history. The Penguins didn’t roll over however, spending the majority of the remaining first period peppering Montoya with shots. Fortunately the Habs defense, lead by newly acquired Shea Weber were able to turn back the tide.
The second period saw Montreal double its lead with David Desharnais potting a goal from the front of the net, the first of 2 for Desharnais who was looking to redeem himself after a shootout gaffe against Ottawa on Saturday. The fourth Montreal goal of the game was scored by Alexander Radulov in the 3rd period. The goal was Radulov’s first since returning to the NHL, and goes a long way in reassuring fans that signing him was a good move by Marc Bergevin.
Pre-Game Ceremony Lights the Fire on a New Season
Montreal has always been a city that thrives on tradition and ceremony, and Tuesday’s home opener was no different. Following the introduction of the team, including Carey Price who continues to recover from the flu, the ceremonial passing of the torch occurred between Max Pacioretty and Habs legendary coach Jacques Demers. Demers, now confined to a wheel chair following a stroke in April, was visibly moved by the ceremony.
Demers was coach of the team during their last Stanley Cup run in 1993. The ceremony is a tradition for the team, whose motto “To You From Failing Hands We Throw the Torch. Be Yours To Hold it High” is etched in the Montreal dressing room.
Habs to Face Coyotes on Thursday Night
With the home opener in the books, the Habs can now look forward to Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. The game, taking place in Montreal, will be the first of 2 games this season between the hockey clubs, and an opportunity for Habs fans to seen Arizona’s Max Domi in action. Arizona took both meeting against the Habs last season. The Yotes are 1-1-0 so far this season. The game is a 7:30pm EST start. Carey Price’s status for that game has yet to be revealed.
The Habs Report is Brought to You By Breakninja, the Source for Checklist Fun