Flames spoil Canadiens' home opener
Miikka Kiprusoff crossed paths with Mike Vernon in San Jose at the outset of his career. Then he moved on to Calgary where he took over his team record for wins.
Kiprusoff moved ahead of Vernon with his franchise-record 263rd win and Rene Bourque scored twice, leading the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win over Montreal on Thursday night to spoil the Canadiens' home opener of their 103rd season.
Kiprusoff, who was in the Sharks' minor league system when Vernon played in San Jose, made 35 saves to become the Flames' winningest goalie and Calgary won for the first time in three games.
''I know Mike pretty well'' said Kiprusoff, who was traded to the Flames by San Jose on Nov. 16, 2003, early in his third season with the Sharks. ''He was the starting goalie in San Jose when I first came over. He's a good guy and it's big for me.''
Bourque and Niklas Hagman scored power-play goals in the first and David Moss got the Flames' third straight goal of the opening period after falling behind 1-0 early. Alex Tanguay had two assists.
''I really honestly didn't know that Kip was close to that record today but it doesn't surprise me with how good of a goalie he is and how good this team has been since he's been here,'' Bourque said. ''He's played great and he's the reason why we're a good team most nights.''
Andrei Kostitsyn scored for Montreal, which played its first eight seasons in the National Hockey Association beginning in 1909-10, eight years before the formation of the NHL.
Carey Price, who got his 99th career win Sunday in Winnipeg, stopped 17 shots. The Canadiens fell to 1-2.
Bourque scored the first of Calgary's two straight power-play goals 7:15 into the first to tie it at 1, beating Price from the right faceoff circle with a wrist shot into the top right corner.
Hagman made it 2-1 when he shot past Price from the slot after Olli Jokinen's centering pass from behind the net struck Montreal center Andreas Engqvist's skate.
Tanguay, who set up Bourque's power-play goal, got his second assist on Moss' goal at 14:54. Moss slipped past Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill to take Tanguay's feed before steering the puck between Price's pads to increase the lead to 3-1.
''We self-destructed,'' Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.
Bourque added his second of the game in the second. He put the Flames up by three 13:22 into the middle period when he banged home a loose puck from the right edge of the crease.
Kostitsyn gave Montreal an early 1-0 lead with an unorthodox finish to a 2-on-1 with Max Pacioretty, who was given an emotional ovation by the Bell Centre crowd during the team introduction prior to the game.
Pacioretty, who played his first regular season game since suffering a broken neck vertebra on March 8, broke down the ice after Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich's stick broke causing a turnover inside the Canadiens' blue line. Kiprusoff got a piece of Pacioretty's shot but the puck caromed off the end boards to Kostitsyn, who put the puck into an open right side.
Montreal's Tomas Plekanec, who had a goal and two assists Sunday, put a backhand off the post late in the second.
NOTES: Kiprusoff, who began his career with San Jose, has 277 career wins. ... It was the first game between the two teams since Calgary hosted the 2011 Heritage Classic outdoor game. Bourque scored twice and Kiprusoff had a shutout in the Flames' 4-0 win over the Canadiens before a crowd of 41,022 at McMahon Stadium on Feb. 20. ... The Canadiens had never previously faced Calgary in a home opener. Montreal beat the Atlanta Flames 3-1 on Oct. 11, 1979 in its season opener at the old Montreal Forum. ... C Lars Eller and RW Aaron Palushaj made their season debuts for Montreal, which lost LW Michael Cammalleri (right leg laceration) and D Jaroslav Spacek (upper body) to injuries on Sunday.