Their season is only four games old, but the Montreal Canadiens have made a habit of going into a shootout.
The Canadiens might want to avoid playing after regulation again when they host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.
Montreal (2-0-2) already has participated in three shootouts this season, with a win and two losses. The team’s only game that did not go to overtime was a 3-1 win at Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The Canadiens’ next outing was their home opener on Saturday and they lost 3-2 in a shootout to Ottawa. They had won two of three games on the road to begin the season.
“The good thing about a shootout is you still get a point,” said new Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau. “That’s a positive and we got a big goal by Sergei (Samsonov) in the third period.
“I think the shootout is fun. You still want to win them. You can’t take them lightly. But it’s one player against the goalie. Last week in Toronto, we won. This time, we lost.”
Montreal went 2-3 in shootouts last season, the first year games still tied after overtime were decided in that fashion.
“We’re confident that Craig will able to play Tuesday,” Carbonneau said. “Mathieu’s case seems more worrying to us. He could have to skip (Tuesday’s game).”
Rivet, scoreless this season, has missed only two games over the last four years. Mark Streit, the captain of Switzerland’s national team, is likely to see his first action of the year in place of either Rivet or Dandenault.
Calgary (2-2-1), in the midst of a four-game road trip, has alternated wins and losses through its first five games. The Flames beat Ottawa 1-0 on the first game of the trip before losing 5-4 to Toronto in overtime on Saturday night, allowing a short-handed goal 50 seconds into the extra period.
Calgary did play well offensively for the first time this season on Saturday. Mark Giordano scored the first two goals of his career and the Flames nearly doubled their season total for goals—they had five coming into the game.
“We haven’t scored as many goals as we would have liked but it’s early,” said Jarome Iginla, who leads Calgary with five points. “Our focus is more on just finding ways to win games.”
The Flames might have an easier time winning games if they could convert on the power play. Calgary went 0-for-3 with the man advantage against the Maple Leafs and is 1-for-33 (3.0 percent) this season, the worst percentage in the NHL.
“Maybe we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves, but last game it was better,” Iginla said. “We know it’s going to change. We’re working on it. We’re going to find ways to score goals.”
Iginla had two goals as Calgary beat Montreal 3-2 at home on Jan. 19, the teams’ only meeting last season. The Flames have only two wins in their last 12 trips to Montreal, in 1993 and 2000.