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game recap

Al Montoya gets first shutout for Canadiens

Montreal goalie makes 36 saves in victory against Penguins

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- It had been a while since Al Montoya earned an NHL shutout, though it was little more than the cherry on top of a sundae for him in relation to getting the win in the Montreal Canadiens' home opener.

Montoya made 36 saves for his first shutout in nearly three years and David Desharnais scored two goals in Montreal's 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Montoya made his third consecutive start for the Canadiens while Carey Price is recovering from the flu. It was Montoya's sixth NHL shutout, and first since Dec. 31, 2013, when he made 27 saves in the Winnipeg Jets' 3-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I feel like I've been trying to make a statement for a while, for me it's just an opportunity to play," Montoya said. "I don't try to overdo anything. I come out here, have fun and play my game and let the rest take care of itself."

Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist and Alexander Radulov also scored for Montreal (2-0-1), which went 1-0-1 in two road games before their home opener. Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry had two assists.

"We're going to play for each other in this room all year, and when you see (Montoya) make some of those saves, it kind of gives us the opportunity to step up and try and get him the shutout and get some goals for him," Pacioretty said. "So you've got to credit most of that game to (Montoya), he played phenomenal."

Video: PIT@MTL: Pacioretty sets up Desharnais on nifty feed

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in his fourth consecutive start for Pittsburgh (2-1-1), which played its first road game. The Penguins went 2-0-1 on a season-opening homestand that included a 4-3 overtime loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.

"(Montoya) played well, he made some good key saves," Fleury said. "They came out strong at the start of the game. But I think after we took control, we calmed down a bit, it was better. The penalties, I think last game we took a lot of penalties, so we have to pay attention to that a little bit."

Pacioretty scored his first goal at 23 seconds of the first period, and set up Desharnais' first goal to put Montreal up 2-0 at 12:07 of the second.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan used his Coach's Challenge to no avail when Radulov scored Montreal's third goal on a power play at 4:31 of the third. The referees confirmed that Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher did not interfere with Fleury before the puck crossed the goal line.

Desharnais scored his second goal of the game when he tapped Petry's centering pass from the right boards in from the left edge of the crease.

Video: PIT@MTL: Desharnais rips one-timer for second goal

Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang went to the dressing room after a hit by Gallagher in the third. He did not return.

Penguins forward Conor Sheary left the game after he was struck around the left eye by Radulov's stick at 7:02 of the second period. Sheary was bleeding and had his eye covered with a towel when he went to the dressing room. He did not return. Radulov was given a double-minor for high-sticking.

Sullivan did not have an update for either Letang or Sheary after the game.

Pittsburgh had seven minor penalties, beginning with a delay of game against center Nick Bonino for a face-off violation five seconds after Radulov's double minor. The Penguins went 0 for 8 on the power play, though that includes a total of 15 seconds during two brief 4-on-3 advantages.

"We clearly have to be more disciplined," Sullivan said. "We can't take the penalties that we're taking game in and game out and expect to get the results we're looking for. We put ourselves in a real tough spot. Having said that, the first half of the game we had the majority of the power plays and our power play didn't execute. So the power play had an opportunity to be the difference and get us a lead, and we didn't get it done tonight."

Video: PIT@MTL: Fleury denies Shaw with terrific pad save

 

Goal of the game

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pacioretty's goal at 23 seconds of the first period set a record for the fastest Canadiens goal in a home opener. Bobby Rousseau held the previous record of 25 seconds set in Montreal's 6-2 win against the New York Rangers at the Montreal Forum on Oct. 12, 1963.

Video: PIT@MTL: Pacioretty nets quick wrister 23 seconds in

 

Save of the game

Montoya did a nice job of tracking Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz driving to the net from the right point to set himself up for a big save to protect Montreal's one-goal lead in the first period. His anticipation of Phil Kessel's centering pass from the left corner allowed him to be in a strong position to challenge Schultz's shot at 13:42 of the first.

Video: PIT@MTL: Montoya denies Schultz's one-timer

 

Highlight of the game

Radulov cut across the slot and held onto the puck before shooting low between Fleury's pads for his first NHL goal since March 31, 2012 in the Nashville Predators' 5-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Radulov scored one goal in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: PIT@MTL: Radulov shows off patience to pad lead

 

Unsung moments of the game

Montreal killed off eight power-play opportunities. The Canadiens killed two first-period penalties and Radulov's double-minor in the second while protecting a one-goal lead.

 

They said it

"I just don't think we were sharp. Our entries weren't as clean, our decisions weren't as sharp with the puck. Our power play's been very good at the beginning of this early season, but tonight, for whatever reason, we weren't as sharp." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on Pittsburgh's power-play struggles

 

"This group talks a lot more than I'm used to. I'll take that, even when half of them don't speak English that well. It's fantastic. There are still growing pains. That's part of the game. I figure the more you talk, good or bad, it's good." -- Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya about communication with his defensemen

 

Need to know

Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber was greeted with one of the loudest ovations during the pregame ceremony. Weber, who was acquired from the Nashville Predators for P.K. Subban in the biggest trade of the summer, repeatedly said he enjoyed and appreciated the cheers even though he kept his game face on throughout the introductions. "I don't like to smile on the ice a whole lot," Weber said. "I think most people know that by now." Radulov and Price were also accorded big cheers, as was associate coach Kirk Muller, who won the Stanley Cup with Montreal as a player in 1993 and was a Canadiens assistant coach from 2006-11. ... Jacques Demers, who was Montreal's coach when the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup for the 24th time in 1993, brought out the team's ceremonial torch and presented it to Pacioretty. Demers, who suffered a stroke on April 6, smiled broadly from his wheelchair when he was greeted with a large ovation without being introduced by PA announcer Michel Lacroix.

Video: PIT@MTL: Pacioretty obtains torch from Demers, scores

 

What's next

Penguins: Host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, ROOT, NHL.TV).

Canadiens: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FSA, RDS, SN360, NHL.TV).

 

Video: Montoya shuts out Penguins, Desharnais nets two

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