Montreal Canadiens


The Buzzer: Zucker tricks Habs; Lightning remain unstoppable


Players of the Night: Devan Dubnyk and Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild

The Wild pair were the main cogs in Minnesota’s 3-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens. Dubnyk did his job between the pipes stopping all 41 shots he faced for his 25th career shutout. Zucker, meanwhile, netted all three goals for his first career hat trick. Zucker has now scored the Wild’s last five goals.

Highlight of the Night:

Welcome back to the goal scoring column, Brian Boyle.


Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl once again teamed up to break another team’s spirits in overtime. Edmonton has now won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal with the Calgary Flames and Johnny Gaudreau chipped in three points during a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Carter Hutton made 27 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped both Arizona shootout attempts during a 3-2 St. Louis Blues victory. Alex Pietrangelo scored his seventh goal of the season. The Blues have won 12 straight over the Coyotes.

• The Coyotes have not won in regulation in 18 games this season. Per the NHL, they’re one loss shy of tying the 1999 Calgary Flames’ dubious record.

• The Philadelphia Flyers got goals from Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier while Brian Elliott made 38 saves during a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Giroux and Voracek each added a pair of assists.

• Chicago has not beaten the Flyers in the regular season in Philly in 14 meetings, dating back to Nov. 9, 1996.

Jakob Silfverberg scored twice 35 seconds apart early in the third period to power the Anaheim Ducks past the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Rickard Rakell handed out three assists.

Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos scored in a span of 2:02 in the first period to power their way to a 5-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings. Kucherov and Stamkos combined for five points, with Kucherov potting his league-leading 16th goal of the season.

• Congrats to Oscar Fantenberg for scoring his first NHL goal.

• The Tampa power play is just unfair:

Factoid of the Night:

Edmonton 3, New Jersey 2 (OT)
Philadelphia 3, Chicago 1
Minnesota 3, Montreal 0
St. Louis 3, Arizona 2 (SO)
Calgary 6, Detroit 3
Anaheim 4, Vancouver 1
Tampa Bay 5, Los Angeles 2


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy

What’s wrong with Carey Price?


The Montreal Canadiens are off to a disappointing 4-8-1 start. There’s no team below them in the Eastern Conference standings, but the most concerning thing might be the play of franchise goaltender Carey Price.

Price struggled at times during the 2016-17 season before finding his game once Claude Julien took over for Michel Therrien behind the bench.

Unfortunately for the Canadiens, things have probably been worse for Price this year than any time last season, which is saying something. He’s been between the pipes for eight of Montreal’s nine losses, including Thursday’s ugly 6-3 defeat against the Minnesota Wild.

Through 11 games, the 30-year-old has allowed the opposition to score three goals or more eight times and four goals or more seven times. He currently owns a 3.77 goals-against-average and a .877 save percentage.

“I think at the end of the day, we all know that Carey [Price] is a much better goaltender than he’s showing right now,” said head coach Claude Julien after the game, per “The only thing he can do, and we can do, is keep working with him, and him working hard and find his groove again, because he’s definitely the key to us getting back into the race here and being a playoff contender.”

When Price is on his game, weird goals like this don’t beat him:

Don’t get it wrong, he’s not the only one to blame for Montreal’s struggles (their defensive zone coverage has been awful, too), but when GM Marc Bergevin says the solution to the Canadiens’ problems is in the locker room, he’s talking about Price. He’s the only one who can cover up their deficiencies (which isn’t fair, by the way).

Some believe he’s playing hurt, others have suggested that all the injuries he’s dealt with in the past have finally caught up to him, and some believe it’s just a confidence/mechanics issue. We don’t know what it is, but one thing is certain, the Canadiens better hope he can play himself out of this funk. They just made him the highest paid goalie in NHL history with that eight-year, $84 million he signed in July. Oh, and by the way, that contract only kicks in next season.

UPDATE: A minor lower body injury will keep Price sidelined for Saturday night’s game in Winnipeg.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Canadiens GM on turning around early-season slide: ‘The answer is in that room’

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A seven-game losing streak was extinguished Tuesday night at Bell Centre as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Florida Panthers 5-1. It was a good start, but there’s plenty for the team to clean up and figure out if they’re going to make this “winning” thing a consistent theme.

Given their rough start, you have to believe it will turn around sooner or later. A 1.89 goals per game average? That should rise. Carey Price sporting a .891 even strength save percentage? We know he’s better than that. A league-low PDO of 93, according to Corsica? The bounces will start going their way at some point.

General manager Marc Bergevin believes his club is in the “cluster” of good teams in the NHL through the first three weeks of the season. A 100-point, division-winning 2016-17 campaign may have increased expectations for 2017-18 a bit too much, however.

“Sometimes things go your way,” Bergevin said on Wednesday. “Everything lines up properly and you end up finishing first.”

But the GM is firm in his belief that he has a good hockey team in his hands. “Maybe we’re not as good as we were, but we’re not as bad as our record shows now,” he said.

Bergevin won’t be making a trade for the sake of shaking up his roster. Teams know the Habs are in a rough patch, so the offers won’t really be worth exploring because in his eyes they don’t end up benefiting his team, only the vultures looking to pick at the carcass. There won’t be a head coaching change unless things get really, really bad.

Something has to change, as teams are getting on the ice with the Canadiens knowing they’re facing an opponent looking for answers.

So how do they dig out of this early season mess?

“The answer is in that room,” Bergevin said. “Coaches are working hard every day spending hours, and we watch tapes, see where the breakdowns are and sometimes they’re just the smallest breakdowns and it’s in our net and then it affects your confidence. It might not be what people like to hear, but it’s reality.

“You could play with a bad foot, a bad hand, but with no confidence, it’s so obvious, and that’s what’s happening right now.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Cammalleri, Kempe power Kings over Canadiens


Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.



Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.