WINNIPEG – The Canadiens didn’t make many friends in Winnipeg on Sunday night.
After being invited by the Jets to be a part of the franchise’s historic inaugural game, the Habs thanked their hosts by spoiling the celebration and leaving with the best parting gift of the night. It took Michael Cammalleri just over three minutes to silence the capacity crowd by snapping home his first goal of the season. The visitors took the lead and never looked back, walking away from the MTS Centre with a 5-1 win and their first two points of the season.
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“It was a great team effort,” stressed Tomas Plekanec, who had a goal and two assists on Sunday night. “They were excited for their first game and we knew we had to have a good start because they were going to be pumped. We scored the first goal and that set the tone for the game.”
Not surprisingly, despite his three-point night, the prototypical two-way forward was more focused on the work he and his teammates did keeping pucks out of the net against the Jets.
“It was a great team effort and we played hard on defense,” mentioned Plekanec, who led the team with a plus-3 differential. “We got our breaks from good defense which was good to see.”
With a goal and an assist of his own, Travis Moen showcased some of his versatility, adding some highlight-reel sizzle to his usual reliable work in the defensive zone.
“We were talking about that after the game,” admitted Yannick Weber of Moen’s slick dangle to give the Habs a 4-1 lead. “He showed some pretty good hands on that one. He made a great move, he had a step on the D and he forced his way through and then pulled a sweet move in front. It was a great goal.”
Weber scored a pretty great goal of his own on Sunday night, rifling home a point shot to give the Canadiens their first power play goal of the campaign. After coming within inches of scoring on almost the exact same play earlier in the game, the 22-year-old blue-liner made no mistake the second time around.
“I was hungry for that one,” admitted Weber with a laugh. “I got the call on the power play and that first one was close. When I got the second opportunity I wasn’t going to give him that save again. I was happy to get that one, for sure.”
Heading into Sunday’s game, no one was more prepared on how to stay calm under the pressure of playing in Winnipeg’s season-opener than Carey Price. Jets fans tried their best to rattle the All-Star netminder, raining down “CA-REY, CA-REY” chants all night. What they weren’t counting on is how much their energy was going to spark the Habs netminder.
“In Montreal we get that all the time so it’s nothing new for us to come into a building that’s rocking,” described Price. “It was a little different being in a hostile environment but most of our guys here are veterans and we’ve all been in this situation before.
“The win is the most important thing,” he underlined. “But it does make it a little extra sweet being able to come in here and spoil the party.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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