Flames hand Montreal Canadiens first loss of the season

Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund each scored a goal in a 2-0 Calgary Flames victory over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal Saturday night.

The Flames’ (3-3-1) victory snapped a three-game losing streak, including a 4-2 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre Thursday night. Montreal (5-1-2) had yet to lose a game in regulation before Saturday night’s loss.

Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom was perfect, making 37 saves to earn his second shutout of the season. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen made 31 saves for his first loss of the season.

Gaudreau scored his fifth goal of the season, a power play goal, at 3:34 of the first period. The New Jersey native has a seven-game points streak dating back to his team’s first game of the season.

The Flames and Canadiens weren’t afraid to play aggressively against each other Saturday. Flames centre Backlund won an opening faceoff while charging his head into Canadiens forward Jake Evans.

Later in the period, as the whistle blew a play dead partway through the opening period, Montreal forward Corey Perry shoved Calgary defenceman Rasmus Andersson, before the latter decided to grapple with Canadiens rookie Alexander Romanov.

Perry and Flames forward Josh Leivo also traded cross-checks, resulting in all four players serving minor penalties.

Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi took a forearm to the head from Calgary Flames forward Dillon Dube with a little over seven minutes to play in the period.

Teammate Shea Weber would later take a roughing penalty in the ensuing scrum.

Kotkaniemi left to the locker room by the end of the period, but he returned for the start of the third.

The Flames tried to make it 2-0 with a wraparound chance by forward Joakim Nordstrom in the final period of play. Allen, sprawled onto the ice, had the puck in between his pads, but a video replay determined the puck had not crossed the line.

Backlund would eventually give his team a second goal by putting it in an empty net with 34 seconds to play.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2021.

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