Game 3: Habs lose home opener 4-1 to Flames

The much anticipated home opener for the Montreal Canadiens turned into a dud, with a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Calgary Flames.

Maybe they were cursed from the player intros, when Scott Gomez launched a spit ball onto the Bell Centre ice as he skated on. Maybe it was due to the lack of "NHL" players on the evening's roster for the Canadiens. Maybe the Flames, seeking their first win of the season, just wanted it more.

The Habs broke onto the scoreboard first at 1:47 of the first period, when a broken Flames stick led to a two-on-one situation. After a Max Pacioretty shot the puck wide of the net, Andrei Kostitsyn smartly continued to the net and fired the puck into the open goal.

From there the Canadiens lost their discipline, taking three straight penalties. The Flames took advantage of the situation, scoring a pair of power play goals by Rene Bourque (7:15) and Niklas Hagman (11:38).

With just under five minutes to play in the period, David Moss slipped the sleeping Habs defense and went five-hole on Carey Price.

Trying to create offense and reinforce his defense, Habs coach began rotating his defense pairings and shuffling his lines in the second period.

Unfortunately for the home team it didn't pan out, despite an 8-2 shot advantage to start out the period. Erik Cole's failure to clear the puck on multiple occasions led to the Flames fourth goal, and second on the evening for Bourque, at 13:23.

The Canadiens out-shot the Flames 12 to 1 in the final 20 minutes, but most of those were soft and easy to handle chances for Calgary goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.

Kiprusoff set a franchise record, surpassing Mike Vernon with his 263th career win, and making a total of  35 saves on the night.

The Canadiens will practice Friday, before hosting the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

scoring summary from NHL.com

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Three Stars: 1. Rene Bourque 2. Alex Tanguay 3. Mikka Kiprusoff

Advanced Stats: Shift Charts / Head to Head / Corsi Fenwick

The Numbers Game

The Calgary game story from Matchsticks and Gasoline

GAME NOTES:

The Canadiens power play was 0 for 4 on the night and 1 for 15 on the season. The Flames had several opportunities while shorthanded.

Certainly not the best night for Carey Price, seeking his 100th career regular season win, but you can't hang the loss on him. He appeared to get caught going left to right on the first two Flames goals (more so on the second), then nearly banked on in his own net. Despite that his defense didn't give him much support the rest of the evening.

Hal Gill had a miserable night, but we can put that on sleep deprivation as his wife gave birth to a baby boy on Wednesday, If the Habs d-corps wasn't already watered down, Gill might have had the night off.

Gill's defence partner, P.K. Subban, had an even worse night, trying to do a lot on his own. It nearly cost him and the Canadiens on a pair of odd-man rushes.

Mathieu Darche narrowly missed a skate to the face in the first period after falling to the ice.

Lars Eller made his season debut, playing 10:57, and had an excellent chance to get the Canadiens within striking distance early in the third period. Eller played just

Pre-game, the Habs announced that Ryan White underwent successful sports hernia surgery, and is out indefinitley.

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