The last time the Montreal Canadiens traveled to Seattle during a worldwide pandemic, it did not end well.
The 1919 Stanley Cup Final between the Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans was abandoned after five games, tied at 2-2-1, after several members of the visiting team came down with what was then known as the Spanish flu. Veteran Canadiens defenseman Joe Hall died days later in a Seattle hospital.
The Metropolitans, who became the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup when they defeated the Canadiens in 1917, folded in 1924 when their home rink was turned into a parking lot and they couldn’t find anywhere else to play.
The Canadiens have won a record 24 Cups and reached the final last season. Yet they enter Tuesday night’s game at Seattle with fewer points than the expansion Kraken.
Montreal snapped a season-opening, five-game losing streak Saturday with a 6-1 victory against Detroit as Mathieu Perreault became the first Quebec native to score a hat trick at home for the Habs since Vincent Damphousse in 1998.
“You don’t even dream about moments like that,” Perreault said. “You just dream about being in the NHL, maybe have a chance to play for the Canadiens but to actually score a hat trick in your home building, it’s not even stuff you dream about so it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“It’s something I may never experience again so I was just trying to take in as much out of it.”
Christian Dvorak, Mike Hoffman and Ben Chiarot also scored and defenseman Sami Niku, making his Montreal debut, had two assists. Goaltender Jake Allen, who has been manning the net with Carey Price in the NHL’s player assistance program, made 26 saves.
The six-goal outburst marked the first time this season the Canadiens scored more than one goal in a game.
“It’s good to get that first (win) but the one thing now, the reason it will make us better is that we don’t want to go back,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. “Nobody wants to have that feeling again. It was the longest 10 days.”
The Kraken have lost four in a row, including a 4-2 loss in their home opener Saturday against Vancouver. Seattle had taken a 2-1 lead in third period, but the Canucks scored three goals in the final 7:08 to rally.
“It’s disappointing. It’s a really tough league to not keep the gas on for 60 minutes,” said Seattle defenseman Vince Dunn, who had the crowd buzzing earlier with the first goal scored at home for the expansion club. “A lot of these games, we’ve given ourselves a really good chance to win. But it’s not good enough. We have to find a way to close these out.”
Conor Garland’s go-ahead tally at 15:58 of the third came off a Seattle turnover, when the puck bounced over a defenseman’s stick at the far blue line and Garland skated all the way down the right wing before faking a slap shot and sliding the puck between goalie Philipp Grubauer’s pads.
Still, Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said he was pleased with his team’s progress.
“It’s probably our best 60 (minutes) of the year,” Hakstol said. “Pretty even first and I thought we were able to tilt the ice a little bit in the second period, which you want to be able to do against a team that’s at the end of a road trip. I like the way we played in the third. Obviously taking a penalty at a tough time against a good power play hurt us. And then the one bounce of the game went their way on the game-winner.”
After starting the season with five games on the road, the Kraken have just started a stretch in which they play 11 of 14 games at home.
–Field Level Media