After throwing down with the Bruins’ Guillaume Lefebvre on Thursday, Stewart found a new and less painful way to help his team with his mitts. This time around, the gritty winger punctuated a play prepared by Glen Metropolit and Scott Gomez to notch the winning goal in Montreal’s 3-2 win over Buffalo on Saturday night.
“This is my first goal in 40 career games, including preseason ones,” said a smiling Stewart, who was clearly not keeping track. “I’m not even sure if I batted it out of the air, but I got my stick on it and it got past [Ryan] Miller that’s all I know. It feels pretty good to get that first goal out of the way.”
His accomplice on the play couldn’t say enough about the determination Stewart has shown in reaching the NHL after having been selected 246th overall by the Canadiens in 2004.
“He deserved that goal and I’m really happy for him,” said Metropolit, an undrafted player in his own right. “Stewie always works extremely hard out there.”
Stewart’s trademark grit didn’t go unnoticed by his new coach, either.
“I’ve seen several encouraging things during our training camp,” admitted head coach Jacques Martin. “A lot of our guys came to the defense of their teammates like Stewart, and then to see him score that big goal is just another encouraging sign.”
Stewart can rest comfortably tonight knowing that the only bus he’ll be boarding anytime soon is the one heading to the Habs’ retreat on Sunday night and not one bound for Hamilton.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
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The Numbers Game - September 26, 2009