Canadiens @ Jets: Habs Take Opener | GAME 1 RECAP

Canadiens Lineup

Forward lines

Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield

Jake Evans – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher

Paul Byron – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Josh Anderson

Joel Armia – Eric Staal – Corey Perry

Defence pairings

Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber

Joel Edmundson – Jeff Petry

Brett Kulak – Erik Gustafsson

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Jake Allen

Scratches

Tomas Tatar, Michael Frolik, Alexander Romanov, Charlie Lindgren

Black Aces

Alex Belzile, Laurent Dauphin, Lukas Vejdemo, Jesse Ylonen, Cale Fleury, Otto Leskinen, Xavier Ouellet, Cayden Primeau, Michael McNiven

Injuries

Jonathan Drouin (undisclosed), Jon Merrill (undisclosed), Artturi Lehkonen (undisclosed)

Game Report

The Canadiens floated into Winnipeg riding high on the emotional upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs in round one. The storyline around the Jets was termed rest vs rust; that is, would their time off with rest help Winnipeg or get them out of their rhythm?

The answer came quite quickly as it was the Canadiens who began the game with energy and flow. Jesperi Kotkaniemi continues his strong performance scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs to lead the Canadiens in that category. Less than two minutes later, Eric Staal recorded his first goal of the post season and Montreal had a two goal lead just 5:10 into the game. 

Prior to the end of the first period, an egregious giveaway by Erik Gustafsson put the Jets on the board and the patience of Nick Suzuki to outwait Connor Hellebuyck restored the Canadiens two-goal advantage.

The Jets did a better job to find their legs as the game went on but Carey Price continued his brilliant play in the playoffs making spectacular saves on Mark Schiefele, Kyle Connor and Mathieu Perreault. Price led the Canadiens to their fourth win in a row.

It was a great start to the series for the Canadiens who shrugged off fatigue, controlled the middle of the ice, and got offensive production from their defence. Expect the Jets to be much sharper and in better sync for game two. Tonight Winnipeg played without Paul Stastny and Dylan DeMelo and  they could be without one of their stars on Friday night.

Scary incident

The game ended on an ugly hit by Mark Scheifele on Jake Evans, celebrating his 25th birthday, who scored the Canadiens fifth goal, an insurance marker. Scheifele received a five minute charging major and a game misconduct. While Scheifele has a clean record, supplementary discipline is in order for such a violent hit.

Full credit to Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers and linesman Kiel Murchison who protected Evans from the scrum as he lay unconscious on the ice.

Up Next

Game two of the series will take place on Friday night in Winnipeg. We could see Tomas Tatar slot into the lineup for Evans. Coach Ducharme has run out of excuses for leaving Alexander Romanov in the press box. But it’s clear that Erik Gustafsson is not the answer.

Plus

▲  Carey Price, Shea Weber, Joel Edmundson, Eric Staal, Joel Armia, Jake Evans, Corey Perry, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki

Minus

▼  Erik Gustafsson, Brett Kulak, Phillip Danault, Josh Anderson 

Game Preview

Check out the game preview here: Canadiens @ Jets: A Goalie Duel | HABS GAME 1 PREVIEW

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