NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Winnipeg
(Sunday, October 9th)
Final Score: Montreal 5, Winnipeg 1
Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - For the first time in 15 years there was an NHL game in Winnipeg, but Montreal spoiled the debut of the newest version of the Jets with a 5-1 thumping at MTS Centre.
It was 1996 when the last NHL game was played in Winnipeg as the previous Jets flew south after the season to become the Phoenix Coyotes.
However, a financially struggling Atlanta Thrashers franchise was bought by True North Sports and Entertainment this past summer and gave Canada its seventh team in the NHL.
It appears, though, that many of the competition problems the former Thrashers, who finished last season 12th in the Eastern Conference, have come north with them.
Tomas Plekanec had a goal and two assists while Yannick Weber added a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who bounced back from a season-opening loss to Toronto on Thursday. Carey Price made 30 saves in the win.
"We pretty much played the game we wanted to play for 60 minutes," Montreal right wing Brian Gionta said.
Nik Antropov scored the first and so far only goal in Jets history while goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped 17 shots in defeat.
"We were so excited for this moment, but it didn't go the way we wanted," Pavelec said. "It's sad, but it's only one game. Tomorrow's another day."
The first goal of the game was Montreal's as Michael Cammalleri picked off a bad pass near the blueline, skated to the low right side and snuck in a wrister at the 3:05 mark of the first.
With around four minutes left in the first, Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele appeared to get his skate caught up in the right leg of Cammalleri.
Cammalleri hobbled to his bench, but after play stopped he was helped to the ice and into the locker room by a player and trainer.
After the game, Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said Cammalleri suffered a lower body injury and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek sustained an upper body injury. Both will be evaluated Monday.
The Habs took a 2-0 lead with 5:43 left in the second after Plekanec skated into the Winnipeg end, got the puck around the defender and shifted from the left wing to the slot before lifting it over Pavelec.
Winnipeg was finally able to get on the board at the 2:27 mark of the third when a Mark Stuart left point shot was redirected on net by Antropov, who followed up the shot and stuffed in the rebound to roaring applause from the crowd.
However, Montreal got the goal back 2:24 later on the power play when Plekanec sent a pass from the high slot over to the left side where Weber's one-time blast flew past Pavelec.
Halfway through the third, Travis Moen scored on a breakaway when he shifted to the forehand and slid a low shot between the pads of the goaltender and Max Pacioretty capped the scoring in the game two minutes later.
"We were just sloppy. That's the best way to describe it," Jets left wing Andrew Ladd said. "We were jumpy, making safe, solid plays, trying to do too much. Against a team like that, skilled forwards, they can make you pay."
Despite the outcome of the game not being in doubt, the home crowd stood and gave a roaring cheer for the last couple of minutes of the game in appreciation of the sport coming back to their city.
"It was loud, it was pretty intense," Price said. "In Montreal, we get that every week."
The Thrashers had just one playoff appearance in their 11 seasons in Atlanta, a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers in 2007...The two clubs have split the season series the past four seasons...Montreal hosts Calgary on Thursday...Winnipeg plays in Chicago on Thursday...The Canadiens were 1-for-4 on the power play while the Jets went 0-for-7.
10/09 22:42:47 ET