About Last Night: Kirby Dach goes down in 3-2 win over Hawks

He left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated today.

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Connor Bedard couldn’t spoil Montreal’s home opener in a 3-2 Canadiens win over the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday at the Bell Centre.

The first overall pick from last June’s draft had one assist in the final minutes of the game. Sean Monahan lead the way on offence for the home team with a goal and an assist. Cole Caufield scored his second goal in as many games.

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In his season debut, Sam Montembeault made 28 saves, half on the penalty kill, for the win.

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Kirby Dach was sent into the Chicago bench by a hit from ex-Hab Jarred Tinordi and left the game with a lower-body injury.

It was a scoreless first period. Bedard was booed every time he touched the puck, while Paul Byron and his family were greeted with cheers by the Bell Centre faithful. Byron retired in the off-season and joined the front office in a player-development role.

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Dach left near the end of the first period and at the start of the second the team announced his night was over. Montreal scored three unanswered goals in the second period, starting with a highlight reel play by Caufield. His backhander squeaked by Petr Mrazek for the 1-0 opener.

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Just over four minutes later, new Hab Tanner Pearson showed off his deceptive release to put the Canadiens up 2-0.

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Before the end of the second period, Monahan gave Montreal an insurance goal with a shorthanded marker after Rafaël Harvey-Pinard sprung him loose on a breakaway.

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The Hawks got on the board less than a minute into the third period. The puck got caught in Kaiden Guhle’s skates before landing on Tyler Johnson’s stick, and Johnson beat a surprised Montembeault to reduce Montreal’s lead to 3-1.

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With 81 seconds left on the clock and the goalie pulled, Johnson lit the lamp again after being in the right place at the right time. It’s as close as the Hawks would get, as Mike Matheson and Nick Suzuki blocked shots in the final moments to preserve a 3-2 win for the Habs on home ice.

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The Habs were dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 75 per cent of draws. They were also a perfect 7-7 on penalty kill. After the game, the team announced Dach’s lower-body injury will be re-evaluated today.

The Liveblog commenters suffered through a procession of trips to the sick bay last season, so they’ll be forgiven for not being chill about Dach’s LBI.

Another solid performance by the young players, but there are whispers in the Liveblog comments about veteran Brendan Gallagher’s worrisome performance in the preseason and now two regular season games. Other than Dach, Gallagher played the least among the Canadiens’ forwards at just over 10 minutes. Another veteran, Monahan, was considered the most impactful Hab on the night according to Hockey Stat Cards.

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Here’s what the Liveblog commenters said.

3. “Important to the win: Habs in the faceoff circle were 36-12 lead by Monahan (14-2), Evans (11-3), and Suzuki (6-2). Even Newhook, a historically bad performer at the dot, was 4-2.” – Michael Way

2. “It looks like MSL’s message of wanting a team to work hard every game and be a hard team to play against is getting through to the boys. Everyone has put forth a strong effort tonight. Some, of course, more than others; but nobody has stunk out the place.” – Bob Taylor

1. “With all the penalties the Habs are taking, we could have one of the best pk units in the league, certainly, one of the most experienced anyway.” – Michael Paul {“_id”:””,”type”:”raw_html”,”shortcode_tag”:”related_links”,”shortcode”:”[related_links \/]”,”content”:”

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