The Montreal Canadiens have gone unbeaten at home on the young season.
Off to a strong start, the Dallas Stars present the next hurdle for them to clear.
Looking to open with four straight home victories for the first time in six seasons, the Canadiens will try to keep the Stars’ point streak from reaching five in a row on Saturday night.
Montreal has been outscored 6-1 in losing its two road games with Detroit and Washington this season, but owns a 13-7 edge in goals while going 3-0-0 at home. Cole Caufield scored his fourth goal of the season, Nick Suzuki recorded his third and No. 1 overall draft pick Juraj Slafkovsky got the first of his NHL career as the Canadiens rolled to a 6-2 win over Arizona on Thursday.
The Canadiens last started 4-0-0 at home in 2016-17, when opening with 10 consecutive victories.
“As an organization, as we deal with players individually, we’re very process-focused,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said of Slafkovsky. “But the result is important for the confidence of the group.
“Winning’s got to be part of the process. And, individually, (producing) has got to be part of the process, too.”
Suzuki and Caufield have done their part with a combined seven goals and four assists through five games. Meanwhile, Jake Allen is 2-1-0 with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage, and backup Sam Montembeault owns a 2.48 GAA in splitting his two starts for Montreal, which has killed 14 of 15 penalties.
For as good as the Canadiens have fared at home thus far, they’re mired in an 0-1-2 rut there against Dallas.
The Stars held a 13-3 goal-advantage during their 3-0-0 start before losing 3-2 in overtime at Toronto on Thursday. Though Dallas can open with at least a point in five straight contests for the first time since 2009-10, they need to show more discipline after taking 23 penalties through four games, including eight on Thursday.
“Just took ourselves out of the game (Thursday) with penalties,” said Stars coach Peter DeBoer, whose team has been fortunate to be 20-for-22 on the penalty kill.
“It’s not a problem yet, but it’s a concern and we’ve got to get it fixed.”
Montreal, meanwhile, is 1-for-14 on the power play this season.
After Dallas’ Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves in his season debut Thursday, Jake Oettinger (3-0-0, 1.00 goals-against average) could be back in net to continue his stellar start. Oettinger allowed eight goals on 50 shots while the Stars split their two games with Montreal last season.
With three goals and three assists, Mason Marchment has been an early surprise for the Stars. While with Florida last season, Marchment recorded a goal in each of the three games he played against the Canadiens. Teammate Joe Pavelski has nine goals and 12 assists in 21 career games versus Montreal.
Suzuki has a goal with five assists in four career games versus Dallas. Caufield had a goal and an assist during Montreal’s 4-3 overtime home loss to the Stars on March 17.
–Field Level Media