The Montreal Canadiens came into tonight's game against the Detroit Red Wings with a paltry record of 2-8-0 so far in the young 2021-22 NHL Season. Of course, one of those victories came last Saturday night against Detroit in a 6-1 blowout.
And once again, tonight was no problem for the host Habs against the visiting Red Wings. From the opening face-off, they hemmed the puck in Detroit's end for nearly the first full two minutes of the game, directly leading to Nick Suzuki's 1st goal of the season. And it wouldn't be long before Josh Andersen would fly down the wing and beat Alex Nedeljkovic with a quick snap shot for a 2-0 cushion at 9:18 of the first.
Detroit wasn't able to get anything going offensively, failing to convert on just over 20 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play opportunity and being unable to generate any pressure on goaltender Jake Allen.
Brendan Gallagher would add an empty net tally late in the 3rd period to seal it; final shots were 41-22 in favor of the Canadiens. With their second straight regulation loss, the Red Wings slipped to 4-4-2 on the season, while Montreal improved to 3-8-0. Tonight also marked the second time this season they've been blanked, with the first coming on October 21 at home against Calgary.
The Red Wings, like their last setback against Montreal, looked like a completely different team without leading goal scorer Tyler Bertuzzi, who is ineligible to play in Canadian cities thanks to his having refused the COVID-19 vaccine; they're winless in the three games he's missed. Of course, it also didn't help that captain Dylan Larkin was absent due to “personal reasons”; he's expected to rejoin the team tomorrow in Boston in preparation for their game against the Bruins on Thursday.
One bright spot was the play of Nedeljkovic, who made a number of terrific saves while under siege early to give his team a chance to win. However, his team wasn't able to reward his effort with any goal support.