Some trickster bought Randy Cunneyworth a Rosetta Stone for Christmas, but his best gift came a couple days later. The Montreal Canadiens erupted for six goals to top the Ottawa Senators 6-2, giving the embattled English-speaker his first win as an NHL head coach.
Cunneyworth likely would have preferred to get that first victory in one of his four previous tries, but in a way, it seems fitting that it came in Ottawa. He served as the Senators’ captain from 1995-98, including the first season that the “new” version of the team made the playoffs in 1997.
It was truly a team effort as five different players scored goals for Montreal. Michael Cammalleri, Erik Cole, Louis Leblanc, Tomas Plekanec, and P.K. Suban earned a goal and an assist. Mathieu Darche had two assists while Raphael Diaz generated three. Subban’s contribution might be the most heartening because he was coming off a rare night as a healthy scratch. Carey Price was sharp in net, stopping 33 out of 35 shots for his 13th win of the season.
There are a lot of positives to take from that game, but the bottom line is that the Habs remain on the outside of the playoff picture right now:
Then again, the Canadiens are only four points and three wins behind the eighth-ranked Winnipeg Jets right now, so it’s not outrageous to think that Cunneyworth can turn things around. Much like a person learning a new language, it’s all about baby steps for Cunneyworth and the Habs, though.
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