PITTSBURGH — Carey Price and the Montreal canadiens had three full days to recover after a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the curtain raising of the regular season of the NHL. They did it with panache against another rival in size on Saturday night.
Paul Byron scored two goals and added one assist, and he allowed the Canadian to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1 at PPG Paints Arena.
“What has made the difference this evening [Saturday], it’s the effort, the respect for what they are trying to do, explained head coach Claude Julien. We respected the players of the team on the other side, knowing that offensively, they are very dangerous. We played well defensively, we did what we had to do to create scoring chances. The patience has paid off.”
Brendan Gallagher scored his first goal this season, while Joel Armia has rocked the ropes for the first time in the uniform of the montreal shorthanded. Charles Hudon has completed the halfway mark of the third period on a game where goalkeeper Matt Murray has not too well published.
Artturi Lehkonen and Jeff Petry have contributed to this gain by collecting two assists. Tomas Tatar has also included a first point with the Canadian.
Even if it has not received your points, Mike Reilly has delivered another good performance at the blue line for the Habs.
“It seems to have a lot of confidence. He is sure of his decisions. It seems to be. He is not afraid to carry the puck. We saw a little bit of that in the past year, but not as much as what we see this year. For us, this is one of our best defenders currently”, has hired Julien.
The Canadian has scored his five goals with the help of 29 shots.
Riley Sheahan was the only scorer of the Penguins, who had launched their season by beating the Washington Capitals, the defending champions of the Stanley cup finals, 7-6 on Thursday evening.
Kristopher Letang has received a mention of support, which has allowed him to become the defender as the most prolific in the history of the Penguins with 441 points, one more than Paul Coffey.
“I imagine that this is not the good part for me to rejoice, said the Montrealer. I have spent my entire career here. I’ve played with great players and to see my name next to that of Paul Coffey is pretty cool,” added Letang.
This triumph allows men to Claude Julien to return to Montreal with three points out of a possible four abroad in the face of two of the best courses of its association.
This victory has also brought to an end a few sequences to be significant. First for the Habs, who had lost his last five outings in the face of the Penguins (0-4-1) and who had not won a game in Pittsburgh since October 13, 2015 (0-2-2).
The other sequence that was finished on Saturday evening, it is that of Carey Price on the outside of the Bell Centre.
The custodian of the Canadian posted a record of 0-11-2 in its last 13 meetings abroad, a sequence that began after a win of 3-2 to Calgary to face the Flames on December 22.
Without having to make stops as spectacular as Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Price has shut the door when necessary it was, blocking 21 of the 22 shots the Penguins.
The Habs will resume training on Monday in preparation for its opener Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. Two nights later, the Canadian will be the Penguins on the road, this time at the Bell Centre.
Another good start
Despite a minor penalty to Jesperi Kotkaniemi after barely two minutes of the game, montreal played with aplomb, closing the door to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel during this shorthanded.
The men of Claude Julien continued to play in a structured way.
“What we want to do and we spoke often, it is to have an identity, to play one way, and not just start every game thinking that he must adjust to the other team. We play our game, we respect the forces, we hope to exploit the weaknesses, but it remains that our game plan doesn’t change much,” said Julien.
Also, they were able to take advantage of their scoring opportunities and bonds favorable, as on the first goal of the match, that of Gallagher.
The best scorer of the Habs last year shook the ropes at mid-way point of the initial commitment after the firing of Tatar was given on the defender Olli Maatta.
Byron scored the first of his three points four minutes later when he walked a path between Maatta and Jack Johnson to defeat Murray with the help of a beautiful feint.
The second period was that of Byron. He first completed his doubled during the fourth minute of the game before orchestrating the aim of Armia for another penalty to Kotkaniemi.
Even if Sheahan is able to thwart Price before the end of the middle period, the Canadian was never really worried during the third period, limiting the potent attack of the Penguins to three shots during the final 20 minutes of play.
“We looked at Wednesday’s game against Toronto, and the players of the Canadian had posted the speed, said Letang. We expected the same thing this evening, but we were not prepared to play this style of game. That’s what it boils down to.”