Hudon shows patience with first NHL goals
The moment Charles Hudon was waiting for arrived Monday night as he scored his first two NHL goals to help the Canadiens to a commanding 8-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Hudon had a reputation as a goal-scorer in junior and in the AHL and he delivered a pair of beauties.
He started what proved to be a horrific night for two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson when he scored a power-play goal at 4:27 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. He crossed the blueline with speed and didn’t hesitate as he cut inside the all-star defender and beat Craig Anderson with a shot off the rush.
“We had some meetings with (associate coach Kirk Muller) and he said their defence was stepping up at the blue-line,” said Hudon. “I cut to the middle and the puck was still on my tape and I figured I would shoot it.”
Hudon scored what proved to be the game-winner later in the first period when he took a rebound from a Shea Weber blast off the end boards and beat Anderson with a backhander.
“I saw Webby and I know he has a hard shot and I was looking for a rebound,” said Hudon. “He made a good play to shoot it off the wall and it came right on my tape. My first thought was to shoot right away but I saw nobody was coming to put pressure on me and I put it up top.”
“He showed great patience on that goal,” said coach Claude Julien. “He’s a goal-scorer and that’s what goal-scorers do.”
Scoring goals and winning games have been problems for the Canadiens, but they have won three of their last four games and have scored 18 goals.
Is it a question of finding some confidence?
“I think my GM said that a week ago and I think he also said the answer is in the room and he’s proving to be right,” said Julien. “You can’t keep losing games and feel good about yourself, but when you’re winning the confidence comes back.
“The win is what we were looking for, but defensively I liked the way we defended better than we have, and obviously offensively we’re happy,” added Julien.
“We haven’t scored much but we had five last game and eight tonight. I can see the confidence coming back.”
The Canadiens gave up a goal 21 seconds into the game and, a few weeks ago, that might have been a major problem.
Not in this game.
“To be honest, I don’t think there was any panic on our bench,” Julien said.
“We didn’t think it was a great goal and we had plenty of time left. There were times when it might have been one of those here-wego-again moments, but I think that’s past.”
“It was a wild night and, after that first one, I had to remind myself that I’ve been there before,” said Al Montoya, who made 25 saves for the win. “You have to put that one behind you.”
Alex Galchenyuk was on the ice for 10:43, but that was long enough to score his fourth goal of the season and his third in the last four games. Julien was asked what Galchenyuk has to do to merit more ice time.
“He’s been getting better,” said Julien. “I have to find him more ice time, but it isn’t easy when the guys on the other lines are playing well. (Artturi Lehkonen) and Hudon each scored two goals on the left side and (Max) Pacioretty got a goal. You can spot (Galchenyuk) on the right and slowly but surely we’re going to help him. As we speak, he’s having success and we’re going to help him get even more ice time.”
Habs forward Charles Hudon, left, celebrates his second goal of the game Monday night as linemates Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher join in.