It was a night of many firsts for the Montreal Canadiens. Everyone knew coming into the contest against the New Jersey Devils that it would be the first game of Jarred Tinordi’s (hopefully long) NHL career. Halfway through the first period of play, Colby Armstrong would (finally) score his first goal in a Canadiens sweater. Later, midway through the third, Tinordi would surprise Habs fans with his first point in the National Hockey League. Also, dare I say, it was the first time all season that Carey Price stole a game away from the Habs opponents.
Armstrong would finally bury his first goal as a Montreal Canadien to open the scoring against the Devils in the first period. Colby had been as snake bitten as a hockey player can be all season before snapping home a high wrister from the slot over Johan Hedberg’s shoulder. He won a race to a loose puck and fired it to the net, finding a way through traffic in front to land in the top corner. It was a well deserved goal as the hard working Armstrong had many chances to score this season but could not find the back of the net. He certainly was not brought in to the organization to be a goal scorer but the first one should help him to get his offence going in the future.
Tinordi was called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs and filled in admirably on a defence pair with Francis Bouillon. He was as advertised, which is to say not a great skater but very effective in his own zone. If you were able to appreciate what Hal Gill brought to the Habs over 2 plus seasons, you will learn to love Tinordi’s game. He is not flashy, hardly noticeable at all if not for his giant 6’6” frame. He did however show he has the size, strength and smarts to make up for his shortcomings as a skater, which will allow him to become a solid defender in the NHL.
One thing Tinordi is not known for is his offense. However, he launched a shot on net in the third period that was tipped home by Tomas Plekanec, which would go down as Tinordi’s first career NHL point, not to mention the game’s winning goal. Tinordi would finish his debut evening with one assist and a plus-minus rating of plus 2.
Carey Price has been great for the Habs all season but tonight may have been the first game the Canadiens won on his back. That is not to say Price hasn’t had sensational games this year but tonight Montreal did not play good enough to win, but did get the two points thanks to several great saves by Price. The Habs gave up more scoring chances than they have become accustomed to but Price was there every time to keep the Canadiens in the game. If not for a first star effort from Price, the result of the game could have been very different.
It was Montreal’s fifth straight win and they look to continue the streak back at home in the Bell Centre against the struggling Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.