Monahan, Flames drop Canadiens 3-2
CALGARY, AB -- Sean Monahan is making the Calgary Flames decision on whether or not to keep him up for the season easier each game.
The 18-year-old extended his goal-scoring streak to three games while goaltender Joey MacDonald made 33 saves as the Flames dropped the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
Monahan, who turns 19 on Saturday, is pushing to stay well beyond the nine game audition before the first year of his three-year, entry-level deal kicks in. The Flames have yet to decide whether he’ll remain with the club beyond that or be returned to the Ottawa 67’s, his junior club. His performance against Montreal makes a return to the Ontario Hockey League more difficult.
“I think I did some of the little things well tonight,” Monahan said. “Obviously it’s nice to get points but at the end of the day you want to win games. That’s what I’m most happy about.”
He’s trying his best to remain in Calgary, opening the scoring against the Canadiens on a 2-on-1 with Lee Stempniak. Dropping the puck to Stempniak after picking up a turnover in the neutral zone, Monahan drove to the net and put a rebound behind Montreal goalie Carey Price to make it 1-0 at 9:09 and also extend his point-scoring streak to four games.
The sixth overall pick from 2013 helped make it 2-0 before the period let out, picking up a turnover behind the net forced by Jiri Hudler and feeding a cross-crease pass to fellow first round pick Sven Baertschi for a tap-in to make it 2-0 with 1:27 remaining.
“He made an awesome pass, back-door,” Baertschi said. “I give him a few of those in practice and then he gives me one in a game, so I'm happy with it.”
Curtis Glencross put Calgary up 3-0 in the second period. After drawing Francis Bouillon’s penalty for boarding, Glencross made good on the power play, deflecting Dennis Wideman’s point shot behind Price at 16:22.
The Canadiens got one back before the period let out. On a power play of their own, P.K. Subban one-timed a pass from Max Pacioretty by the blocker of MacDonald at 17:46.
Montreal added another near the midway mark of the third period to draw within one. Subban’s initial point shot went wide, but Lars Eller grabbed the puck off the end boards and beat MacDonald at 10:40.
MacDonald closed the door from there, lifting Calgary to their first win on home ice this season.
GOAL OF THE GAME
After Hudler rolled defenceman Jarred Tinordi behind the Canadiens net, Monahan scooped up the puck and fed a cross-crease pass that Baertschi tapped in to put the Flames up 2-0 with 1:27 remaining in the second period.
SAVE OF THE GAME
With a vintage pad-stack, MacDonald denied Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov on consecutive shots five minutes into the second period.
After drawing a penalty, Glencross scored on the ensuing power play, deflecting Wideman’s shot between Price’s legs at 16:22 of the second period. The goal gave the Flames enough of a cushion in the victory.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I just, sometimes, pinch myself wondering if I need to check his birth certificate. The poise that he's showing for an 18-year-old kid ... He's having fun. He's bringing passion, he's bringing excitement and he's learning. He's a pretty special kid.”
STAT OF THE GAME
Tale of the tape: 5-foot-10, 186-pound Hudler took out 6-foot-6, 227-pound Tinordi to force the turnover on Baertschi’s first period goal.
Tim Jackman and Derek Smith were healthy scratches against the Canucks. Both Mike Cammalleri (upper body) and Matt Stajan (lower body) missed the game due to injury.
The Flames return to action Friday when they host the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m. MT, SNET-W).