The night in Montreal opened with a tribute to the Original Six rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens—but the game itself hardly lived up to the billing.
Hall-of-Fame alumni like Jean Beliveau and Gordie Howe were on hand to see the Wings outshoot, outpass, and outplay the Habs en route to a 4-1 win.
The shot tally was close through the first period, but the Wings were in control from the opening faceoff. Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk scored the only goal in the first 20 minutes.
Christopher Higgins evened the score early in the second, but Datsyuk and Niklas Krovall replied for the Wings. Henrik Zetterberg added a power-play goal in the third.
The Wings shut down the Canadiens' top-ranked power play on all five of its opportunities, and outshot their opponents 34-16. All told, the Red Wings looked like a Stanley Cup contender—while the Canadiens looked a team looking to the future.
The loss was the Canadiens third in a row, and the 21,000+ at the Bell Centre weren't shy in voicing their displeasure.
"We can hear it," Higgins said of the booing, which reached a crescendo in the third period. "Guys get down. It affects us, makes it tougher to play. We had a game plan and we didn't stick to it."
"We haven't played our best," added Canadiens captain Saku Koivu. "I'd like to turn the page. We can't get these games back, and we have a lot of games to play."
Dominik Hasek got the win in his first start in five games. Rookie Carey Price, the Habs No. 1 goalie while Cristobal Huet nurses a groin pull, took the loss.
Three Stars: 1. Henrik Zetterberg; 2. Pavel Datsyuk; 3. Chris Chelios