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Monahan scores again; Flames defeat Canadiens

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- Sean Monahan was 7 years, two months and 25 days old the last time the Calgary Flames lost to the Montreal Canadiens on home ice.

The 18-year-old did his best to extend that streak Wednesday.

Monahan had a goal and an assist, and Joey MacDonald made 33 saves when the Flames defeated the Canadiens 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Monahan, who turns 19 Saturday, is helping his own cause too. The sixth pick in the 2013 NHL Draft is pushing to stay in Calgary beyond the nine-game audition allowed before the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract kicks in. The Flames haven't decided if he'll remain in the NHL or be returned to his junior team, the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League.

He said he feels like he knows what he has to do to stick around for Game 10.

"I think just to continue to be a good pro, and that's what I'm trying to do right now, the little things on the ice and off the ice and just be an everyday pro," Monahan said.

He has the confidence of coach Bob Hartley.

"I just, sometimes, pinch myself wondering if I need to check his birth certificate," Hartley said. "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."

Curtis Glencross and 2011 first-round pick Sven Baertschi also scored for the surprising Flames, who have yet to lose in regulation through their first four games (2-0-2).

Lars Eller and P.K. Subban scored for Montreal, which hasn't won in Calgary since a 4-2 triumph on Jan. 5, 2002.

"We didn't play a bad game," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "I thought we pushed the pace. I believe that they took advantage of their opportunities, especially the first period. We had 12 shots, they only had five and we were down by two goals.

"We didn't react well on the first mistakes we did in the first period. It's one of those games. We took some penalties in the third period we shouldn't."

Monahan opened the scoring finishing off his own play. Picking up a turnover in the neutral zone, he dropped the puck to Lee Stempniak on a 2-on-1. Carey Price denied Stempniak's shot, but Monahan deposited the rebound to give Calgary a 1-0 lead at 9:09, extending his goal-scoring streak to three games.

"I saw him going to the net and he's a right-handed shot," Monahan said. "His stick was open so I tried to get it to him. Unfortunately he didn't score but I was there for the rebound."

Monahan set up another with 1:27 remaining. After Jiri Hudler knocked Jarred Tinordi off the puck behind the Canadiens net, Monahan scooped up the rebound and quickly fed Baertschi at the far post for a tap-in and a 2-0 advantage.

"That was a nice pass," Baertschi said. "I yelled at him so hard. I knew he was going to make that pass. He's such a talented player, and I saw it coming, so I just had to put my stick right there. It was great. We had a good forecheck there, we got the puck in deep and he read the play well, got right behind the net and came around. It was an easy play for him, I would say."

The Canadiens tried to answer before the period ended but couldn't beat MacDonald. Travis Moen found Ryan White heading for the net, but the former Calgary Hitmen forward couldn't redirect the puck behind the Flames goaltender.

In the second period, Montreal's Daniel Briere picked Shane O'Brien's pocket a foot in front of the crease and forced MacDonald to make a quick toe save at 1:30. MacDonald then made back-to-back highlight-reel saves on Andrei Markov, stacking the pads twice to rob the Canadiens defenseman after stopping Subban's initial one-timer from the point with five minutes remaining.

The saves allowed the Flames to counter on the power play with Francis Bouillon in the penalty box for boarding. Drawing the penalty, Curtis Glencross capitalized on the man-advantage, redirecting a Dennis Wideman point shot between Price's legs at 16:22 to put Calgary up 3-0.

Subban would cut that lead to two on a power play for Montreal, one timing a feed from Max Pacioretty past MacDonald's blocker with 2:14 remaining in the period. Markov collected his 400th NHL point with an assist.

Monahan went back to work in the third period, setting up Baertschi and Glencross for consecutive chances five minutes in, but neither forward could beat Price.

The saves helped Montreal pull within one when Lars Eller scored at 10:40. After MacDonald made an initial blocker save on a deflection, the Canadiens worked the puck to Subban at the point. His shot went wide, but the puck came off the end boards right to Eller parked on the opposite post to cut Calgary's lead to 3-2.

A pair of Subban rushes followed, but the Canadiens couldn't convert, and the comeback fell short when the reigning Norris Trophy winner was whistled for cross-checking with 1:49 remaining, his second penalty of the period.

"I didn't like the two penalties we took in the third period, so we're going to have to address that," Therrien said.

"We're going to work. We're going to work with him. It's what we did last year. It's a process."

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