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About Last Night: The Habs won. Finally

Mathieu Perreault scored a hat-trick as the Montreal Canadiens won their first game of the 2021-22 season.

Canadiens' Alexander Romanov skates the puck against Lucas Raymond of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at the Bell Centre on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Montreal.

The previously winless Canadiens got off the schneid in a big way, recording their first victory of the 2021-22 season with a 6-1 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

A host of new Habs played key roles in the win, starting with a hat-trick from Mathieu Perreault. Christian Dvorak and Mike Hoffman also broke their scoresheet seals. In his first game as a Canadien, defenceman Sami Niku supplied two helpers.

The hometown crowd chanted the Drummondville native’s name after scoring an empty-netter for his third of the game. According to Stu Cowan, a homegrown player scoring three here has become a rarity:

Let’s get to those goals, shall we? Detroit actually opened scoring, giving offence starved Habs fans a sinking feeling at 5:25 of the first. On the power play, captain Dylan Larkin glided from the top of the circle to the dot, unloading an accurate shot that beat Jake Allen to give the Wings a 1-0 lead.

After that, it was all Montreal. The Canadiens scored two before the first period was out, first from a streaking Ben Chiarot off a feed from Jonathan Drouin along the boards.

Just over two minutes later, Hoffman recorded his first in bleu-blanc-rouge, showcasing his much-ballyhooed howitzer on the power play to give the Habs a 2-1 advantage heading into period two.

The floodgates opened for Montreal in the second. Dvorak ricocheted a puck off the Detroit defender’s leg and past Thomas Greiss to extend Montreal’s lead to 3-1.

Then it was Perreault’s turn to net his first two as a Hab. For the first, he grabbed a loose puck that hit a skate in the neutral zone and took it to the house.

For the second, just over two minutes later, Perreault parked himself in the slot, eventually the recipient of a backhand pass from Tyler Toffoli. After the fifth goal, Detroit swapped starting netminder Greiss for Alex Nedeljkovic, acquired this offseason from Carolina.

Down 5-1 with over seven minutes remaining in the third period, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill pulled his goalie for an extra attacker. Seconds later, Perreault raced down the ice to negate an icing and potted his third in the empty cage. The game ended 6-1.

After last season’s empty stands and little to cheer about this October, the Olé Olé chants returned Saturday night. As for Detroit, star forward Tyler Bertuzzi couldn’t play because he’s the last unvaccinated player in the league and couldn’t travel with his teammates.

With the proverbial monkey off the team’s back, the Habs head to the West Coast for a four-game road trip that starts in Seattle on Tuesday for a momentous first-ever contest against the expansion Kraken. The Liveblog commenters felt Niku earned another game in the top six, and that Allen deserved a little run support for a change.

3. “Can I be any happier for Jake Allen? I don’t think so!” -Carin Latzel
2. “Imagine scoring a hat trick for the team you grew up worshipping. Man that has to feel great.” -Marc Taillefer
1. “Don’t really post here too much but have been reading this comment section since it was called HABS inside/out, And the great Mr. Boone was our blogger. Erik, you are doing him and us proud, thanks for all the hard work! All I gotta say is that I think we all needed this game and can hopefully build from and prove everyone wrong about this team once again! GO HABS GO!” -Robbie Arseneault