MONTREAL – A few new Habs had the chance to introduce themselves to the Bell Centre crowd for the first time on Tuesday night.
Splitting duties between the pipes with Carey Price
for the evening, newcomer Nathan Lawson
spent his first 30 minutes in a Habs jersey soaking in the atmosphere from the bench. Even the extra time he had to acclimate to his new home couldn’t fully prepare him for the change in atmosphere from Long Island to Montreal.
“It’s crazy – the amount of people here tonight is the number we’d get on our best night last year in New York,” marveled the 27-year-old netminder. “They’re passionate here, that’s for sure. I felt pretty good out there. It obviously wasn’t the outcome we were all looking for but it was good to get my feet wet and get in there and get some game action.”
Some of the other new faces making their Canadiens debuts against the Stars used the opportunity to leave their mark on the scoresheet. Facing his former team for the first time since becoming a free agent this summer, Habs defenseman Jeff Woywitka lit the lamp for the first time with Montreal midway through the second period.
“It was awesome. Any goal you score – no matter when it is – it’s always exciting,” explained Woywitka, who had 2 goals and 11 points with the Stars last season. “I think I started a little slow and I had a few jitters. Obviously you shouldn’t have those, but you’re a little tense coming into a new organization. I think once the game went on and even coming into the second period, things started to slow down and you started seeing more plays.”
Finally getting his first chance to hit the Bell Centre ice after two months of anticipation, Erik Cole
didn’t take long to settle into his new home, either.
“It was just nice to get the ball rolling and get something positive for us,” admitted the 33-year-old power forward, who opened the scoring for the Habs in the second period. “It’s definitely exciting. I think I probably let out a pretty big sigh after that one went in for sure.
“I think we were maybe a little on our heels and there were a couple of bad breaks where you really lose the momentum,” he added. “It was good to get a spark and get things going and get the crowd into it and excited. It showed with the energy on the bench. The goal on Kost’s [Andrei Kostitsyn] next shift was really impressive and then with another goal a few shifts later was impressive. It was a starting point and we can move forward from here.”
After seeing nine new players get their first taste of Bell Centre hockey against the Stars, another five will get their turn to make their Canadiens debuts against the Sabres on Wednesday night.Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
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