Game 691 – Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 1

Game 691
Canadiens 6, Maple Leafs 1
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

Alex Tanguay figures he’s quieted the critics for a little while.

The Montréal newcomer had a goal and three assists to help the Canadiens rout the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 on Saturday night for their first victory in their centennial season.

Tanguay was the biggest name added to Montréal’s lineup over the summer and is one of the reasons a team that finished first in the Eastern Conference last year is expected to challenge for that title again.

That’s why he was especially thrilled to get his first goal and points in a Canadiens uniform out of the way.

“It’s nice before we get home,” Tanguay said. “I know how the media in Montréal can be as far as pressure’s concerned and you guys are probably familiar with that here too in Toronto.”

Sergei Kostitsyn scored twice and added an assist, and Roman Hamrlik, Alex Kovalev and Guillaume Latendresse also had goals for the Canadiens, coming off a 2-1 shootout loss at Buffalo on Friday night. Captain Saku Koivu added three assists.

Tanguay is coming off a tough season in Calgary, where he didn’t feel he was used properly by coach Mike Keenan. At his request, the Flames dealt him to Montréal during the entry draft in June.

He’s still adjusting to life with a new team and looking to find a rhythm.

“A lot of thing’s been said when we made the trade for him,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. “I think he didn’t really enjoy the year last year and wanted to kind of have a rebound year. He knew he was coming to a good team.

“Because he was injured a little bit in preseason (with a hip problem), he didn’t have a chance to really get that timing back and get that chemistry with Saku (Koivu). Those two guys have too much talent to be out of that scoring sheet for a long time. Tonight it showed.”

Jason Blake scored for Toronto.

Montréal blew open the game early in the second period. The Canadiens scored three power-play goals – two off Kostitsyn’s stick and the other from Tanguay – during a 5:28 stretch to take a 5-0 lead.

“We took way too many penalties and our penalty-killing didn’t work,” Leafs forward Niklas Hagman said. “Up against a team like that, if we start running around, they’re going to make plays.”

Tanguay assisted on both of Kostitsyn’s power-play goals.

“We put him on the point on the power play – he has good vision,” Carbonneau said. “He went to the net a couple times a couple times and got a bunch of points. Hopefully, he’ll keep going.”

The teams traded chances early in the first period before the Canadiens started to take control. Hamrlik and Kovalev beat goalie Vesa Toskala just 1:39 apart for a 2-0 lead at 12:39 of the first period.

After Montréal added the three quick power-play goals in the second period, Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak had all the cushion he needed.

“I knew that they would be ready to play (after losing on Friday),” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.

Blake got the Leafs on the scoreboard with a power-play goal at 11:02 of the second, but Latendresse replied for Montréal only 22 seconds later to make it 6-1.

NOTES: Twenty Canadian medalists from the Beijing Olympics took part in the ceremonial puck drop … Chris Higgins (groin), Georges Laraque (groin) and Francis Bouillon (knee) each missed a second straight game for Montréal … Toronto’s Jeff Finger (foot) and Ryan Hollweg (suspension) also sat out … Habs forward Tom Kostopoulos played his 300th NHL game … It was just the fourth time Toronto has faced Montréal in its home opener since 1970.

Story property of NHL.com, photo property of SB Nation


BOXSCORE
1st Period
MTL PEN – 04:23 – Markov, interference
MTL GOAL – 11:00 – Hamrlik (Latendresse, Koivu)
MTL GOAL – 12:39 – Kovalev (Plekanec, O’Byrne)

2nd Period
TOR PEN – 01:58 – Stajan, high sticking double minor
MTL PP GOAL – 02:50 – S. Kostitsyn (Tanguay, Koivu)
MTL PP GOAL – 04:15 – Tanguay (Latendresse, S. Kostitsyn)
TOR PEN – 07:05 – Schenn, delay of game
MTL PP GOAL – 08:18 – S. Kostitsyn (Tanguay, Markov)
MTL PEN – 09:37 – Plekanec, hooking
TOR PP GOAL – 11:02 – Blake (Van Ryn, Ponikarovsky)
MTL GOAL – 11:24 – Latendresse (Koivu, Tanguay)
TOR PEN – 11:55 – Schenn, roughing
MTL PEN – 11:55 – A. Kostitsyn, boarding
TOR PEN – 12:58 – Grabovski, hooking
TOR PEN – 16:06 – Antropov, high sticking
MTL PEN – 20:00 – Hamrlik, cross checking

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 01:06 – Lapierre, slashing
TOR PEN – 04:10 – Moore, slashing / roughing double minor
MTL PEN – 11:17 – Kostopoulos, fighting major
TOR PEN – 11:17 – Mayers, fighting major
TOR PEN – 14:06 – Grabovski, hooking

GOALTENDERS
MTL – Halak (W, 24-25)
TOR – Toskala (L, 17-23), Joseph (11-11)

SHOTS ON GOAL
MTL – 9+14+11 = 34
TOR – 8+11+6 = 25

ROSTERS
MTLGoaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price. Defence: Patrice Brisebois, Josh Gorges, Roman Hamrlik, Mike Komisarek, Ryan O’Byrne, Andrei Markov (A). Forwards: Steve Bégin, Mathieu Dandenault, Saku Koivu (C), Andrei Kostitsyn, Sergei Kostitsyn, Tom Kostopoulos, Alex Kovalev (A), Robert Lang, Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse, Tomas Plekanec, Alex Tanguay.
TOR
Goaltenders: Curtis Joseph, Vesa Toskala. Defence: Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonas Frogren, Tomas Kaberle (A), Pavel Kubina (A), Luke Schenn, Mike Van Ryn. Forwards: Nikolai Antropov, Jason Blake, Mikhail Grabovski, Niklas Hagman, Nikolai Kulemin, Jamal Mayers (A), John Mitchell, Dominic Moore, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan, Alexander Steen, Jiri Tlusty.

ATTENDANCE
19,370

THREE STARS
Sergei Kostitsyn (MTL)
⭐⭐ Alex Tanguay (MTL)
⭐⭐⭐ Saku Koivu (MTL)