Talking internal competition

Talking internal competition
Tatar adds speed, punch to Canadiens
Montreal Canadiens Tomas Tatar (90) celebrates with teammate Max Domi after scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins during second period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, October 13, 2018. Tatar wasnt the centrepiece of the blockbuster deal that sent him to the Montreal Canadiens but hes managed to carve out a vital role with his new squad. (Graham Hughes/CP)

VANCOUVER — Tomas Tatar wasn’t the centrepiece of the blockbuster deal that sent him to the Montreal Canadiens, but he’s carved out a vital role with his new squad.

When you feel like youve let your team down, thats probably the biggest frustration/disappointment that can ever happen in your career, said the 36-year-old. Our team played such a great game tonight and deserved a much better fate. When something happens like that and its on you, its obviously disappointing.

The Habs were looking to the future when they traded their captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights in September for Tatar and prospect Nick Suzuki.

Carey stood tall in net and gave us a chance after two periods to still be in the game, said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. I liked the way we came out in the third. Finally we talked about it, starting to play on our toes again like we had been when things are going well.

While Suzuki, 19, has yet to crack the Canadiens roster, Tatar has five goals in his last five games.

Matthew Tkachuk scored both goals for Calgary (10-8-1). Tkachuks eighth and ninth markers of the season put him at a team-best 21 points on the season. Mark Giordano had two assists. The Flames four-game homestand continues Saturday when they are host to the Edmonton Oilers.

"He’s added a punch to our team," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said of the left winger on Friday.

Hes got his reputation as Carey Price, the best goalie in the world, for a reason and we have that confidence playing in front of him and I dont think anyone was ever worried, said Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher.

"He’s had a great attitude since day one, he’s worked hard, he’s on a line that seems to compliment him. We’re really happy with him."

It has been a tough year for Price, too, who entered the night with an .892 save percentage. Price found himself on the bench the last two games after giving up 11 goals on 63 shots in his previous two starts.

Tatar spent the tail end of last season with the Knights after being dealt to Vegas from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline.

Montreal tied the game 2-2 at 8:32 of the third. After a scramble in front of the net, Smith kicked out his pad to stop Andrew Shaws backhander, but Drouin was right there to slide in the rebound.

The 27-year-old had spent his entire NHL career in the Motor City after he was picked 60th overall by the Wings in the 2009 draft, and tallied three 20-plus goal seasons in a row between 2013 and 2017.

Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Drouin also scored for Montreal (10-6-3), which has split the opening two games of its three-game Western Canada road trip. The Canadiens play in Vancouver on Saturday.

"It didn’t really work for me, but I had a great experience," Tatar said. "I enjoyed my ride there. It was awesome. We were one step away from a Stanley Cup."

We all have bad days at work sometimes, said Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic, when asked about his goaltender. We battle as a team. We win and lose as a team. Its never on one player.

Heading into the off-season, he knew he had to put in some work to bounce back. Meanwhile, the Canadiens coaches and management were looking at how to recover from a lacklustre campaign that saw them end the year with a 29-40-13 record, out of a playoff spot.

Notes: Flames forward Dillon Dube (upper body) is back practicing and is nearing a return. He has missed four games. … Canadiens defenseman David Schlemko played his 400th NHL game.

"One thing we thought we had already and just had to add to it was we had a good skating team," Julien said.

VANCOUVER — Tomas Tatar wasnt the centrepiece of the blockbuster deal that sent him to the Montreal Canadiens, but hes carved out a vital role with his new squad.

The Habs were looking to the future when they traded their captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights in September for Tatar and prospect Nick Suzuki.

The Canadiens opened the scoring eight minutes into the first on another shaky one as Tatars shot from the slot deflected off Smiths upper body and went into the net.

While Suzuki, 19, has yet to crack the Canadiens roster, Tatar has five goals in his last five games.

Lehkonens first goal in 18 games, dating back to the season-opener, came on a harmless-looking 40-foot wrist shot from off the wing that leaked through Smiths pads.

“Hes had a great attitude since day one, hes worked hard, hes on a line that seems to compliment him. Were really happy with him.”

Carey Price backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over Mike Smith and the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, despite the visitors being outshot 45-22.

Tatar spent the tail end of last season with the Knights after being dealt to Vegas from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline.

The 27-year-old had spent his entire NHL career in the Motor City after he was picked 60th overall by the Wings in the 2009 draft, and tallied three 20-plus goal seasons in a row between 2013 and 2017.

Price stopped all thirteen shots he faced in the final frame as the Canadiens won for the third time when trailing after two periods.

“It didnt really work for me, but I had a great experience,” Tatar said. “I enjoyed my ride there. It was awesome. We were one step away from a Stanley Cup.”

Heading into the off-season, he knew he had to put in some work to bounce back. Meanwhile, the Canadiens coaches and management were looking at how to recover from a lacklustre campaign that saw them end the year with a 29-40-13 record, out of a playoff spot.

“One thing we thought we had already and just had to add to it was we had a good skating team,” Julien said.

Adding Tatar and left-winger Max Domi — acquired from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Alex Galchenyuk in June — helped the club get even faster in a league thats constantly racing for speed.

“Were not unique there. Theres a lot of fast teams there. We just had to make sure we had the right people in place to kind of follow that trend as well,” Julien said.

Domi, who is playing centre in Montreal, and Tatar currently lead the Habs in scoring, with 23 and 16 points respectively.

“There have been some great additions to the team over the summer and (Tatars) been one of them,” Julien said.

“I think its a team success,” he said. “When the team is doing well, the individuals are standing up, too. The whole team is playing really well and were fortunate to score enough goals.”

Key to that success has been developing a chemistry with his linemates, Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault. The trio has combined for 18 of Montreals 63 goals so far.

“I think were just working pretty hard on a 200-feet game. Gally and Phil are a doing great, theyre helping me a lot. I think the lines just clicking,” Tatar said.

“Im really happy with how things are going for us right now. And we just have to keep up the standard.”

Theyre currently on a three-game Canadian road trip that got off to a rocky start on Tuesday with a 6-2 loss in Edmonton. Julien called the match the teams worst game of the season.

On Thursday, his crew battled back, claiming a 3-2 victory in Calgary where Tatar scored the opening goal.

The club knows the Canucks have some hot young talents, including rookie Elias Pettersson who has 17 points in his first 15 NHL games.