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COL@MTL: About Thursday night…

Cayden Primeau was solid in his NHL debut

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL -- Here are a few key storylines from Thursday night's 3-2 loss to the Avalanche.

"He gave us a chance to come back"

One topic was on everyone's mind following the game.

Making his NHL debut, Cayden Primeau was solid between the pipes as the Habs attempted to stage a three-goal comeback.

Video: Brendan Gallagher on Cayden Primeau's NHL debut

"He made some really big saves to give us a chance, especially when we were down 3-0. His compete level and his battle level were extremely high. He made enough big saves to give us a chance to come back, and he can take a lot of pride in the way he played tonight," underlined Brendan Gallagher, who scored his 12th of the season in the loss. "Obviously he competed hard. You never forget your first one, and it would have been nice for us to get a win for him."

The 20-year-old netminder had a busy first night at the office, facing 14 shots in each of the first two periods.

And although he finished the game with 32 saves, Primeau admits there were some nerves under all the equipment.

Video: Cayden Primeau on his first NHL game

"I was obviously excited and a little nervous. But it was good to get the first one under my belt. I was super motivated, and it's good to see this level during the regular season," explained the New Jersey native. "There's a lot of things to take away from this game."

Head coach Claude Julien thought the first-time NHLer did well to brush it off any shakiness.

"Everyone knew he was nervous in the first. He'd probably like to have those first two goals back, but he followed up with some huge saves and gained more confidence as the game progressed," described Julien. "He gave us a chance to get back into the game with big saves in the second and third periods."

Feel-good goal

Nick Cousins potted the Habs' second tally of the evening to snap a 16-game span without a goal.

And the 26-year-old hopes it might just be the spark needed to help him find his scoring touch.

Video: Nick Cousins on his play

"I think lately I've been squeezing the stick a little too tight. I haven't really liked my game the last five or six games, and if there's one guy who's hard on myself it's me," acknowledged the Habs winger. "Hopefully that will free me up a little bit and get my feet moving again."

Cousins has three goals and five assists so far this season.

Payback time

The Canadiens will be back in action on Friday when they visit the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The team will be looking to exact revenge for a 6-5 loss to the Rangers on Nov. 23, a game the Habs originally led 4-0.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi will not join his teammates in the Big Apple however, having left Thursday's game with an upper body injury following his first shift on the ice.

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