Two teams that have been having serious problems on the offense meet at the Bell Centre in their first matchup of the season.
The Canadiens, the NHL’s most successful franchise, avoided tying a dubious 75-year-old team record Thursday, as Joe Juneau scored 1:39 into overtime to give the Canadiens a 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Juneau ended Montreal’s streak of over three games without a goal, getting the Canadiens’ first score since Saturday against Ottawa, a span of 199 minutes, 25 seconds.
The Canadiens were shut out four straight games in 1928 and went a total of 320:57 without a goal during a six-game stretch. They were also shut out for three straight games in 1949.
“We can talk about the shutouts, but I felt like we deserved a game,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “We didn’t want to lose and would have been happy with a tie.”
The victory broke a three-game losing streak for Montreal, which got 21 saves from Jose Theodore, who posted his third shutout of the season.
“The last couple of games we weren’t playing that well and we needed to refocus,” said Theodore, who beat Boston’s Felix Potvin even though Potvin made 37 saves.
“Felix was unbelievable. The game would have been over after two periods if it wasn’t for him.”
The Rangers’ offensive struggles have been present throughout the early season, although they haven’t hurt New York of late. The Rangers beat Carolina 4-1 on Thursday night for their second straight victory and third in four games.
Petr Nedved scored New York’s first power-play goal of the season midway through the second period after the Rangers had failed 32 times with the man advantage over the first seven-plus games.
“We knew eventually one would go in,” Nedved said. “Unfortunately, I should have buried that chance in the first period, but at least this makes up for that.”
Despite their lack of offense, the Rangers have put together a solid stretch because of goaltender Mike Dunham, who made 29 saves Thursday to lower his goals-against average to 1.82.
While Montreal finally ended its scoring slump, the Canadiens’ power play hasn’t been much better than New York’s. The Habs are 1-for-24 with the man advantage over the last seven games.