The Montreal Canadiens began their first road trip of the season on the wrong foot, stumbling out the gate in Calgary, and ultimately falling 3-2 to the surprising Flames.
The Flames jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on the strength of goals from Sean Monahan and Sven Baertschi. Monahan opened the scoring after forcing a turnover in the neutral zone by Travis Moen that led to a 2 on 1 with Lee Stempniak, Price got a piece of the Stempniak shot, but it trickled behind him to a waiting Monahan who pushed it into the back of the net.
Monahan would then set up Baertschi late in the frame to put the host team up by two. Jiri Hudler forced Canadiens defender Jarred Tinordi to lose control of the puck at the side of Price’s goal, and Monahan made no mistake pouncing on the loose puck and finding Baertschi at the far post for another tap in.
The Flames were able to briefly extend their lead to three on a power play late in the second period. A point shot by Dennis Wideman was tipped just in front of Price by Curtis Glencross, leaving no chance for the Habs netminder to make a save.
Just over a minute later, P.K. Subban launched a point shot home while on a man advantage to narrow the gap to 3-1. Subban’s rocket was set up by a couple of nifty passes from Max Pacioretty and Andrei Markov.
The Canadiens would pull within one of the Flames, when Lars Eller continued his hot start to the season, by banging in a rebound off a Subban point shot that ricocheted off the boards and right to Lars at the side of the Flames net.
The Canadiens would have plenty of pressure for the rest of the game, but could not beat McDonald for a third time, and would ultimately fall to the surprisingly hot Flames, who improve to 2-0-2 on the young season.
The Canadiens outshot Calgary 35-25 over the course of the game, but the Flames created two excellent chances in the first that they capitalized on, and beat Price once again, taking advantage of their first power play opportunity of the evening. Price played great in the game, being hung out to dry on a few goals, but he made several great saves throughout the game that held the Canadiens in it, and gave them a chance to tie it.
Markov’s assist was the 400th point in his NHL career.
The Canadiens return to action tomorrow night, when they head north to Edmonton, to face the Oilers.