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Supporting cast

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Canadiens didn’t get the result they were hoping for in their home opener.

After dropping their first two games of the season, the Flames came to Montreal hungry for their first win. Despite opening the scoring less than two minutes into Thursday’s game and outshooting the visitors 36-21, the Habs weren’t able to bring Calgary’s winless streak to three straight.

“We had a good start and a good first couple of shifts but we took some penalties and they scored some power play goals,” explained Tomas Plekanec, who led all Canadiens forwards with 21:06 in ice time. “We didn’t respond back. We had some good chances but it wasn’t good enough.

“I think the main thing is we have to support each other more,” he added. “When one guy is in a battle and he’s got two guys on his back it’s hard to win battles. We have to support each other a lot more than we did tonight, especially in our zone. We made some soft plays, we didn’t support each other and we lost our battles.”

Hal Gill was on the same page as his Czech teammate following Thursday’s loss. For the veteran blue-liner, the difference between winning and losing all comes down to support.

“We took some penalties, they got some goals and we started doing things individually,” described Gill, who blocked three shots in the outing. “We have to play a good team game in order to be successful and we got away from that tonight. Guys were working hard but working in the wrong direction and that’s what happens.”

With 13 years of NHL experience under his belt, no one knows better than Gill the value of winning and losing as a 20-man unit.

“We did some things right but if we’re not going to work as a team we’re going to end up losing games,” he confirmed. “It creeps in and everyone is looking at himself saying ‘I have to be better’ but a lot of times it’s just about being supportive.

“If a guy is alone along the boards, you have to get in there,” stressed Gill. “You can’t be looking for the open ice. You have to play the chip game and get pucks deep. We’ll get back at it tomorrow and work out some things. We know what we have to do; we just didn’t do it tonight.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for


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