Whitby - Oct. 14, 2011 - You win as a team, you lose as a team and on this night, the Montreal Canadiens collectively stunk the joint out. Calgary Flames’ goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff became the team’s all-time leader in wins after stopping 35 shots (.972 save percentage) that lead to a 4 - 1 victory to spoil the Canadiens’ season opener at the Bell Centre.
Calgary’s special teams killed any momentum that the Canadiens mustered in the first five minutes of the first period. Habs’ winger Andrei Kostitsyn scored the game’s first goal at 1:47 of the opening frame. The Canadiens then took three consecutive penalties leading to two power play goals by Flames’ forwards Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque. David Moss and Bourque tallied the other two Flames’ goals.
Calgary was a desperate team tonight as they were looking for the club’s first win. Conversely, Montreal played listless hockey. They seemed to be out of sync and Price did not look very good in nets. Montreal’s special teams went zero-for-four on the power play and their back end’s lack of size was evident on Thursday night.
The announced three stars of the game were Flames’ netminder Kiprusoff (3rd star, 263rd win), Alex Tanguay (2nd star, two assists) and Rene Bourque (1st star, two goals). For the complete game summary and Boxscore, please see the games stats review below.
Montreal’s next game is this Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. when they entertain the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche will be coming to the Bell Centre riding an impressive 7 - 1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday evening.
Coach’s Comments Straight to the Point
Thank you to TSN 990 for post-game soundbytes from the Canadiens’ dressing room.
Habs’ coach Jacques Martin admitted that his team started the game well but penalties got his team in trouble. Martin further admitted that Calgary got the momentum by the time the Flames scored their third goal of the contest.
When Martin was asked about the Habs’ lack of experience on defence, Martin commented that the guiltiest of the game were not his inexperienced defensive corps.
Montreal’s Max Pacioretty was also interviewed post-game and he was quoted as saying that “Calgary outworked us in the first two periods. After Calgary scored their first two goals, we got flustered”.
Comments from the Whitby Cheap Seats
Hal Gill and P.K. Subban were terrible in the first period. Erik Cole gave the puck away on four separate occasions. It was hard not to notice that seats at the Bell Centre were quickly emptied by the seven minute mark of the third period.
Coach Jacques Martin does not have one specific penalty kill unit. He continues to mix and match players, trying to find the perfect combination. Mathieu Darche started on the third line, moved to the fourth line and then in the third period, he showed up on the Habs’ first power play unit.
Erik Cole looked lost tonight. Is Cole already in Martin’s doghouse? Cole was brought in to bring size up front and he is not being used by Martin in this fashion - Cole hardly played on the power play.
This year’s home opener was very uninspiring, very basic and not similar to what Habs’ fans have witnessed in years previous to this 2011-12 NHL season.
From one Habs’ fan to another, this is going to be a long season until the team gets their collective heads out of the sand. A patient fan base is needed at this point - and in Montreal, this won’t last for too long.
Game Stats Review
P.K. Subban had a subpar performance but lead the team with 23:30 of ice time, was a -1 and had three shots.
Scott Gomez was 12-for-19 in faceoff wins (.632), David Desharnais was 8-for-14 (.571), Andreas Engqvist was 3-for-6 (.500) and Tomas Plekanec was 10-for-21 (.476).
Erik Cole seemed disinterested in tonight’s contest, played only 14:53, saw 1:40 of power play time, had one shot, had six hits and was a -1 for the night.
Josh Gorges had five blocked shots, was a +1 and saw 19:38 of ice time.
Skaters to see at least four minutes of power play time were Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, Yannick Weber and Tomas Plekanec.
Montreal has now lost six of its last seven home openers.
Carey Price stopped 17-of-21 shots for a .810 save percentage.
Announced attendance was 21,273.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…