Top draft pick Juraj Slafkovský scored his first career NHL goal and the Canadiens used a three-goal first period to cruise to a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday in Montreal.
Josh Anderson, Cole Caufield and Brendan Gallagher gave Montreal the early cushion.
Nick Suzuki notched a penalty shot marker and Sean Monahan added an empty-netter. Jake Allen made 25 saves in the win.
The Canadiens (3-2-0) improved to 3-0 at home on the season with the victory.
WATCH | Canadiens’ Suzuki scores highlight-reel penalty shot goal:
J.J. Moser and Travis Boyd scored for Arizona. Lawson Crouse added two assists.
In his first start with the Coyotes (1-3-0), Connor Ingram stopped 24 of the 29 shots he faced.
Anderson got the Habs started 1:58 into the opening period as he scored on a rebound from a Jonathan Drouin shot that hit the post.
Gallagher tried his luck on a two-on-one and beat Ingram glove side to open his 2022-23 account on the Canadiens’ fourth shot of the game at 7:17 to make it 3-0.
Slafkovský notched his first NHL goal 8:17 into the second period when he intercepted the puck and beat Ingram with a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. The Bell Centre crowd gave the first overall pick a standing ovation as the PA announcer called his name. Canadiens fans kept going, chanting Slafkovský’s name following the goal.
JURAJ SLAF𝙎𝙃𝙊𝙏SKYYYY<br><br>🙌 🙌 🙌<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoHabsGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GoHabsGo</a> <a href=”https://t.co/yNLIadcLLx”>pic.twitter.com/yNLIadcLLx</a>
Suzuki was given a penalty shot when he was tripped by Juuso Valimaki while Montreal was short-handed. The captain took all the space he needed then lobbed the puck over Ingram to increase the Habs’ lead to 5-0 at 18:27 in the second period.
The Coyotes ruined Allen’s shutout bid with two quick goals in the third period. Crouse sent the puck to Moser who fired a one-timer atop the left faceoff circle to finally break the ice at 6:21.
Crouse then fed Boyd who gave Arizona its second goal at 8:18.
With under four minutes remaining, Monahan scored an empty-net goal to close it out.
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