Habs improve to franchise-best 6-0-0 with win over Red Wings
MONTREAL — Jeff Petry’s game-winning goal was special in three ways:
It made the Montreal Canadiens 6-0-0 for the first time in franchise history.
It was the first goal scored by a Canadiens defenseman this season.
It came against Detroit, where he grew up as the son of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dan Petry.
”It’s always nice when you can score a big goal and it just adds a little bit being against that team,” Petry said after the Canadiens got a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday night.
Brendan Gallagher scored in the second, Tomas Plekanec made it 3-1 and then Brian Flynn scored an empty-netter with one second remaining for Montreal, which last went unbeaten in its first six games in 1977-78 (5-0-1).
Rookie Dylan Larkin scored for Detroit (3-2-0), which was coming off a 5-3 loss to Carolina on Friday night.
”We knew they played last night, so we wanted to get pucks behind them and wear them out,” Petry said.
Montreal had a 41-22 edge in shots on Detroit and may have scored more if not for sharp play by goalie Petr Mrazek, who faced 20 alone in the third period.
The Canadiens entered the game only 2 for 21 on the power play and worked on their man-advantage play during their morning skate. They responded with two power-play goals.
”To win on the road against a team that’s undefeated and is playing with a lot of confidence, we have to win the special teams battle and tonight we lost it,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. ”We have to continue to improve on both the power play and the penalty kill.”
Larkin, who extended his points streak to start his career to five games, opened the scoring 4:47 into the second frame when he flipped a backhander toward the net and saw it sneak past Carey Price’s pad on the near side.
It was the first time this season Montreal trailed in a game, but that didn’t last long.
Gallagher’s tying goal on a power play at 7:44 needed video review. A cross-ice pass from Plekanec was cleared by Kyle Quincey into the on-rushing Gallagher’s skates and went in just as the Canadiens winger slid into Mrazek and the net. The NHL situation room ruled it counted because he didn’t direct the puck in with a skate.
”I’ve got no comment on that goal or the process,” Blashill said.
”It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, but I’ll certainly take it,” Gallagher said. ”It wasn’t quite the way we drew it up, but to get a power-play goal after we talked about it was nice.”
A Jonathan Ericsson tripping call on David Desharnais put Montreal on a power play and Petry got his first of the season 6:32 into the third on a blast from the point with Desharnais parked in front of Mrazek.
Plekanec, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract extension on Friday, scored his fifth of the season at 17:56 by tipping in a pass from Gallagher, who stripped the puck from Mike Green in the Detroit zone.
NOTES: The Red Wings had center Darren Helm (concussion) and defenseman Danny Dekeyser (foot) back from injuries to make their season debuts. … Before the game, referee Marc Joanette was honored in an on-ice ceremony for officiating his 1,000th NHL game. … The Canadiens will try to stretch their winning run to seven games Tuesday at home against St. Louis. ”We don’t want to talk about the streak,” coach Michel Therrien said. ”We only want to talk about our next game.”