There was the suave voice of Michel Lacroix, there was Diane Bibaud on the organ and we had even revived Roger Doucet to push a few notes of the O Canada. For a first game at the Bell Center since March 10, 2020, we were getting closer to the usual atmosphere despite empty stands.
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For the first time in 112 years of history, the CH played its inaugural match in Montreal without the presence of its loud supporters on Thursday night, whom opposing teams often describe as the most dynamic.
The strange context in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely not slowed down Claude Julien’s troop. Once again, CH generated their own energy by beating the Calgary Flames 4-2.
“It was a little different in presentation,” said captain Shea Weber, who had the honor of being introduced before the match by the footballer and
doctor Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. But it’s always good to come back to this building. There would have been incredible energy in normal times, there wouldn’t have been a single empty seat. It was different tonight, but we’re living in a different time. ”
At 25, Jonathan Drouin had no childhood memories for the interpretation of Roger Doucet’s national anthems, but he liked the bearing of the singers of the past and present before the meeting.
“I don’t know who it is [Roger Doucet], but it was the fun, it was pretty special, I had never heard that here. It was cool to hear all the artists who sang the hymn. It gave a little boost. We had energy, we were ready. ”
In the morning, Julien had spoken of a trap match for his team. The Flames arrived at the Bell Center after two straight losses against the Maple Leafs. He expected to see the Flames play with rage in his heart. He also described the team of Geoff Ward – one of his former assistants in Boston – as a formation with a very good structure.
The Flames did not show their good face for this first game of a series of two in Montreal. The other theory would be to say that the Habs were simply the best team on the ice, even though Weber spoke of a game that was far from perfect.
Johnny Gaudreau turned into a ghost in this match. Sean Monahan has also been very discreet. Matthew Tkachuk, one of the best pests in the NHL, also hit a wall in the third period while battling Ben Chiarot. But if the Flames guns did nothing, it is also because of the very good work of the units of Phillip Danault and Nick Suzuki against the first two trios of the visitors.
In a losing cause, the Flames screwed up Carey Price’s shutout in the final two minutes of the game by scoring two goals, those from Sam Bennett and Rasmus Andersson.
After a trip of six games where the CH collected 10 points (4-0-2) out of a possible 12, there was no relaxation during the return to Montreal.
Two in three
The Habs set the tone for this meeting by scoring two power-play goals in the first period, those of Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber.
Tyler Toffoli also hit the target on the shorthand. In short, the locals won the battle for special units.
Like his start to the season, the Canadiens continued their very good work on the power play with two goals on three occasions. After seven games, the CH rolls at 30.8% (8 in 26) of efficiency.
According to Carl Lavigne, the Canadian historian, there were spectators in the stands during the Spanish flu, from 1918 to 1920.
A few minutes before the match, the CH announced a three-year contract extension (2021-2022 to 2023-2024) for Martin Lapointe. In addition to his position as director of player personnel, Lapointe will also have the hat of director of amateur recruiting. He therefore replaces in this function Shane Churla, now employed by the Florida Panthers. Trevor Timmins remains the big boss of the draft.
The great center player collected two assists and he won 67% of his faceoffs (8 in 12). A very good match.
The sturdy attacker had his own medicine served. Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot made life difficult for him with several sticks to his back.
1-Mon: Brendan Gallagher (3) (Perry, Kotkaniemi) AN-10: 07 2-Mon Shea Weber (2) (Petry, Drouin) AN-15: 39
Penalties: Valimaki (Cgy) 8:13, Lindholm (Cgy) 14:30.
3-My Josh Anderson (4) (Kotkaniemi, Drouin) 8:21 4-My Tyler Toffoli (6) (Suzuki) DN-19: 35
Punishments: Byron (Mon) 18:40, Lucic (Cgy) 19:54.
5-Cgy: Milan Lucic (2) (Bennett, Ryan) 18:42 6-Cgy: Rasmus Andersson (2) (Gaudreau, Lindholm) AN-19: 37
Punishments: Romanov (Mon) 2:33, Tkachuk (Cgy) (maj.) And Chiarot (Mon) (maj. And min.) 10:19, Evans (Mon) and Andersson (Cgy) 15:44, bench (Mon ) (purged by Gallagher) 18:42.
Shoot to the net
Calgary 9 – 7 – 9 – 25 Montreal 8 – 11 – 2 – 21
Cgy: David Rittich (P, 0-1-0). My Carey Price (L, 3-0-2).
Cgy: 1 in 4, Mon: 2 in 3
Eric Furlatt, Michael Markovic.
Steve Barton, David Brisebois.
Follow the game and the highlights live with us!
20:00 | End of the meeting.
19:39 | CGY goal – The Flames avoid humiliation, but it’s too little too late. Price drops the puck, which slides gently behind him.
18:42 | CGY goal – Carey Price loses his shutout in the final moments of the match. Claude Julien pleads that the Flames were offside, but loses his appeal.
15:44 | Double minors – Evans and Andersson are hunted for rudeness.
10:19 | MTL penalty – Ben Chiarot gets two minutes for carrying his staff to Tkachuk’s face. The two are also kicked out for five minutes for fighting.
2:33 | MTL penalty – Romanov loses his helmet, but does not immediately retreat to the bench. He is being kicked out for playing without a helmet.
0:00 | Start of period
20:00 | End of period – The Canadian leads 4-0. The shots on goal are 19-16 in favor of CH.
19:55 | CGY penalty – Lucic is chased away for harshness at the very end of the period.
19:35 | MTL goal – A superb lobed pass from Nick Suzuki allows Toffoli to escape. He concretizes this chance in shorthandedness. It is the fifth goal for CH in these circumstances this season.
18:40 | MTL penalty – Paul Byron obstructed Lindholm. This is a first penalty for the Canadian in this game.
8:21 | MTL goal – KK and Anderson come in excess. The Finn fires a shot and Anderson recovers a juicy return on the fly to score. 3 to 0 Montreal.
0:00 | Start of period
20:00 | End of period – The Canadian leads 2-0. The Flames have the advantage in shots on goal, 9-7.
15:39 | MTL goal – Shea Weber shoots a cannonball from the top of the circle to Rittich’s right. Valmaki inadvertently deflects the disc and the Canadian doubles his lead.
14:30 | CGY penalty – Elias Lindholm’s turn to hook a Habs player: this time, it’s Drouin’s place.
10:07 | MTL goal – Posted in front of Rittich, Perry receives a pass from Kotkaniemi. He skillfully hands it back to Gallagher, who pushes the puck into the net. 1 to 0 Montreal.
8:13 | Penalty CGY – Juuso Valimaki hooked Jeff Petry.
0:00 | Start of the match