|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT, October 11, 2018
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec Attendance: 21,302
New-look Canadiens host Kings
Los Angeles Kings at Montreal Canadiens
- The Kings lost, 2-1, in Winnipeg on Tuesday evening. Los Angeles was held to just 17 shots on goal in the contest, including just four shots in the first period. Since the start of last season, the Kings have been held to 20 shots or fewer six times; only the Ducks have more such games (10).
- Montreal won, 5-1, in Pittsburgh on Saturday, holding the Penguins to just three shots on goal in the 3rd period. Since the start of last season, the Canadiens have allowed 667 even-strength shots in the third period, tied with Pittsburgh for the fourth-fewest in the NHL (Boston, 649; Winnipeg, 650; Dallas, 661).
- The Kings took both meetings against the Canadiens last season, including a 4-0 win in Montreal on October 26. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Los Angeles is 7-2-1 against Montreal; in the previous 20 meetings, the Kings had won just five.
- Paul Byron matched his career high with three points (2g, 1a) on Saturday, earning first-star honors in the win. Through two games this season, Byron has two goals and two assists, the first Canadiens skater to do that since Lars Eller tallied three goals and two assists in the first two games of the 2013-14 season.
- Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal in Winnipeg on Tuesday, his first NHL goal since April 25, 2013. That 5 years, 167 days is the longest time between NHL goals since Evgenii Dadonov scored on October 7 last season - five years, 326 days after his previous NHL goal.
- Alex Iafallo logged an assist on Kovalchuk's goal, his third straight game with a point. With a point against Montreal, Iafallo would become the first Kings skater to log a point in each of his team's first four games of the season since Kyle Clifford began the 2012-13 season with a point in four straight.
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The new-look Montreal Canadiens, an early season surprise in the NHL, will make their home debut Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Kings (1-1-1) at Bell Centre.
The Canadiens are 1-0-1 after starting the season on the road with a 3-2 loss in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs and an overwhelmed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Saturday.
The Canadiens, forecast by many to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference even before they traded top goal scorers captain Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk, have used a speedy forechecking game to pressure the opposition, cause turnovers and create scoring opportunities.
Forward Paul Byron, picked up on waivers in the 2015-16 season from the Calgary Flames, led the Canadiens with two goals and an assist in the win over the Penguins.
"That's the way we want to play. We want to play with pace," Byron told NHL.com. "We want to move pucks up quick. We want to make sure that with our group, with the talent we have and the skating ability we have, that we can play that fast game. So far, it's working for us."
"I think we're working pretty well as a unit," Canadiens goaltender Carey Price told NHL.com. "We're not showing a ton of panic out there when things are getting tough. We have guys that are all playing really well. There's no real secret to it."
Canadiens fans will get their first regular-season look at 18-year-old rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was selected with the No. 3 pick in last summer's draft.
Kotkaniemi has one assist in two games as he adjusts to life in the NHL. He's been getting some tutoring from his veteran teammates.
"I think faceoffs are the area that I need most to improve on, so I'm working at it every day," Kotkaniemi told montrealcanadiens.com. "We have older guys that help me a lot. They are teaching me new tricks every day and I try to use those."
They must have helped because Kotkamiemi's success in the faceoff circle jumped from 14.3 percent against the Maple Leafs to 66.7 percent against the Penguins.
Kings coach Jon Stevens didn't like the effort from his players in the first two periods in a 2-1 loss against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
"I thought the third period, we started to play on our toes a little more and we were able to generate a little more of an attack," Stevens told NHL.com. "But prior to that (we) totally played the game on our heels, backing up retreating instead of getting after it."
Kings forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who returned to the NHL after five years playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, scored his first goal with the Kings against the Jets. Kovalchuk, 35, signed a three-year contract worth $18.75 million with the Kings. He had 816 points in 816 games in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers and the New Jersey Devils before leaving for the KHL.
The goal against the Jets was the 417th of Kovalchuk's NHL career.
"I prefer to win than score goals," Kovalchuk told NHL.com. "It wasn't enough, so we will be better next game."
The Kings power play could use Kovalchuk's touch: it is 0-for-10 in the first three games of the season.
Updated October 10, 2018