Montreal Canadiens Al Montoya Bounces Back From Columbus Calamity

The Montreal Canadiens left Al Montoya out to dry in his last start. It resulted in an embarrassing 10-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The skaters weren’t a lot better in his next start, but Montoya was great against the Blackhawks.

The Montreal Canadiens absolutely hung goaltender Al Montoya out to dry in his last start. The game was in Columbus against the Blue Jackets and the Canadiens skaters failed to show up. The result was 40 shots against and a whopping ten goals against.

Montoya, unfortunately was left in for every single goal against. It was an embarrassing night for the Canadiens backup goaltender. However, the Canadiens skaters should have bore the brunt of the blame for the disastrous game.

The 10-0 loss took a lot of the shine off what was a great start to the season by Montoya. With Carey Price sidelined with an illness to begin the season, Montoya took to the Habs crease for the first three games of the year.

The American netminder was brilliant in game one. He stopped 30 of 31 shots faced against the Buffalo Sabres and led the Canadiens to victory. He followed that up with 35 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators two nights later.

Montoya impressed against great competition before first loss

Montoya then had his best game of the year. He shutout the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, turning aside 36 shots in the process. In his fourth outing he stopped 26 of 28 shots against the New York Islanders and won his third of the season.

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This gave the Habs a record of 3-0-1 with Montoya in goal. He has allowed just six goals in those four games and looked great in relief of Price.

Then came Columbus. The Canadiens really let Montoya down and had him fishing pucks out of his goal all night. One would hope that the Habs skaters would come out flying in Montoya’s next start, but it wasn’t the case.

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Montoya’s first game since the calamity in Columbus was tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.  Montreal was drastically out-shot, out-chanced and out-played. However, Montoya bounced back from allowing double-digit goals with a great performance.

It was not enough to lift the Canadiens to victory again, but it was an excellent outing from Montoya. He faced a whopping 36 shots, and turned aside 33 of them. Many of his saves were of the highlight variety as the Blackhawks seemingly had dozens of scoring chances.

The Canadiens were able to score on a lucky bounce early in the second period, and then Andrei Markov rifled home a shot soon after to give the Habs a lead. They appeared to believe this was enough offence, as they only mustered three shots in the final 17:20 of the second period.

Canadiens skaters didn’t do enough to support their goaltender

The Canadiens skaters were able to put together some offensive zone time late in the game as they pushed for a lead. A flurry of shots on goal late in the game gave them 23 for the night.

This just simply was not the performance I was expecting in Montoya’s first game back from the Columbus catastrophe. Sure, it was the Habs second game in two nights and fourth in six days. That is a tough stretch for any team, especially when playing Chicago, the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins.

However, it would have been expected that the team would rally around Montoya after hanging him out to dry last time out. That didn’t happen, but we can chalk it up to a tired team doing what they can.

It was encouraging to see Montoya come out and have a strong game. Even though the Canadiens lost, this game showed Montoya can be relied on to come on in relief of Price whenever necessary. He won’t play a lot, but it’s good to know the Canadiens have a solid second option in goal.

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