NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Atlanta
(Wednesday, October 12th)
Final Score: Montreal 2, Atlanta 0
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Yann Danis became just the ninth goalie in NHL history to post a shutout in his first appearance, making 32 saves, to lead Montreal past Atlanta, 2-0, at Philips Arena.
Jan Bulis and Saku Koivu posted goals for the Canadiens, who rebounded from a loss to the Senators on Tuesday to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Atlanta got an impressive performance from Michael Garnett, who played his first game after Mike Dunham left early in the opening period. He made 29 saves on the night, but received little help from an Atlanta offense that has been shutout twice in the season. The Thrashers are 2-2 on the year.
The Habs drew first blood 3:01 into the opening stanza. Niklas Sundstrom made a centering pass from behind the net to Bulis, who snapped a backhand shot which Dunham made a save on. Bulis collected his own rebound, threw a shot from the side of the net and the puck hit off of Bobby Holik's skate and went in to make it 1-0.
Atlanta had their best chance of the period with 13:17 left. Ilya Kovalchuk, playing his first game of the season after signing a contract on Saturday, came in on a 2-on-1 play and flicked a wrist shot from left circle, but Danis came up with the save to keep Montreal ahead.
Danis was the third Montreal Canadien goalie to post a shutout for his NHL debut. The other two were Bob Perreault in 1955 and Wayne Thomas in 1973.
"Obviously I had butterflies coming in here, in the rink and before the game," said Danis. "It was a good start for me. I had a chance to make the first few saves (and) the team scored the first goal. After that the confidence was there."
Dunham left the game during a whistle stop after the Kovalchuk shot. The team reported that he had a groin injury and he would not return. Garnett came in for the rest of the game.
"Getting thrown in like that is a tough way to make your debut," Garnett said. "In between periods I talked to Dunham, and he said to go out there and relax. After that I played as I always played," said Garnett.
Neither team was able to get any pucks in the net during the second period despite Montreal taking 16 shots and Atlanta throwing 15 on goal.
The Canadiens best chance came with 6:15 left when Alex Kovalev came in the zone and threw a sharp wrist shot at the net, but Garnett was able to swallow it up.
With 1:27 left Kovalchuk was in close on the left side of the net and snapped a shot, but Danis made a nice save to keep Montreal up 1-0 going into the third.
Montreal forward Steve Begin was injured about halfway through the second period when he went down to block a point shot. The puck hit the top of his left knee and he limped off the ice. He did not return in the game and there was no further word on his status.
Koivu handed Montreal a two-goal lead 6:26 into the third. Skating around the net, Koivu got a backhander off that slid under Garnett's left pad to make the score, 2-0.
The Thrashers had a chance to get on the board when they were awarded a 5-on-3 power play for 1:17 with just under four minutes left to play. Their best chance came when Kovalchuk slapped a shot from the left point, but Danis was able to make a blocker save to preserve the shutout.
The Thrashers had nine power plays on the night and 32 shots, but despite scoring eight goals against the Capitals Saturday, were shut out for the second time on the season.
Atlanta will complete a three-game homestand Friday against Toronto...Montreal will play its next four games at home starting with the Maple Leafs on Saturday...The Thrashers scored 15 goals in two games against Washington and have been shutout in their other two games...Kovalchuk had five shots in his debut...The Habs have killed off 33-of-36 penalties this season.
10/12 22:43:36 ET