The Montreal Canadiens played their most complete game of the season so far and still came out on the losing end 3-1. Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere’s third period goal seconds after Jonathan Drouin drew the Habs level proved to be the game-winner. The Montreal Canadiens have now started the season 0-3 and have only scored three goals through their opening three games.
The story of the night was the reception Drouin received from the Montreal Canadiens faithful on his return to Bell Centre ice. The forward repaid the fans’ adoration in the third period when he received a great pass from centreman Christian Dvorak in the slot. Drouin froze New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin, took the puck from his forehand to his backhand and finished emphatically into the roof of the net.
On cue, 21,000+ went ballistic in a celebration that was part Super Bowl, part World Cup final and part St.Jean Baptiste afterparty. After 585 days without a full crowd, at least the fans in the building went home with a memory they won’t soon forget despite the loss.
“The crowd, obviously I think we took (them) for granted a little bit the last couple of years,” admitted Drouin post-game. “Just to have them back, you could feel the energy in the warm-ups. It was awesome to have the crowd back, the adrenaline. “(They were) loud all night. (To have) that ovation, it was awesome to get that. I was expecting it a little bit but not that loud. It was obviously emotional for me a little bit and I’m very happy (to have had) that.”
Here are your player ratings from the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers