In the Habs room: Perreault’s hat-trick takes the monkey away from Montreal

The Quebec native leads the Canadiens to their first win after going 0-5 to start the season.

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When Mathieu Perreault was growing up in Drummondville, he dreamed of one day playing for the Canadiens, but never dreamed he would have a night like the one he experienced on Saturday.


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Perreault had a hat-trick to lead the Canadiens to their first win of the season: a 6-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Center.

“You don’t dream of a moment like this,” Perreault said. “You dream of being in the NHL and maybe playing for the Montreal Canadiens, but now, scoring a hat-trick in the house building, it’s amazing and I’m trying to take it in as much as I can.”

The near-exhaustion crowd was in a giddy mood as the Canadiens upped the score. They made the wave and began chanting Perreault’s name after he scored an empty goal with 6:44 left to complete his hat-trick.

“When they chanted my name, I got chills,” Perrault said. “It is one of those moments that I will remember for the rest of my life. I was happy that we got a win and I had a hat-trick and I was trying to absorb it. The crowd was cheering my name and it’s something I may never experience again. “


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When Perreault was told that he was the first Quebec player to score a hat-trick for the Canadiens at home since Vincent Damphousse did it in 1998, when the building was known as the Molson Center, he said: “I think I’m pretty good company. . “

Perreault, 33, was hired as a free agent after the Winnipeg Jets left him adrift and there were questions during training camp about where he would fit in. He started the season on the left wing and, after being a healthy scratch from Tuesday’s loss to San Jose, was inserted in the middle between Tyler Toffoli and Cole Caufield.

Perreault, who played center early in his career, said he’s learning a new system in Montreal but looked comfortable Saturday.

He was the only Canadian center to win more than 50 percent of his matches, winning five of seven. He had six shots on goal, the most of the game, and another three blocked shots.


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Mike Hoffman, who scored his first goal of the season in the power play, said it was important to get a win before embarking on a four-game trip through the western United States.

“This was a great victory,” Hoffman said. “We have a couple of days off and a long flight (to Seattle) tomorrow and it wouldn’t have been a fun environment if we had lost again tonight. The guys will have fun for a couple of days and then go back to work. “

Defending Sami Niku made the most of his first appearance with the Canadiens. He had a pair of assists and was named one of the three stars after finishing in plus-3.

Niku was late to camp after being picked up from Winnipeg with waivers and had a setback when he suffered a concussion in his first exhibition game against Ottawa. It was a healthy scratch for the first five games of the regular season and he hadn’t played in the NHL since March 1, 2021.

“It was my first real game in seven months (and) I needed to find my rhythm at the beginning,” Niku said. “I felt better from the second period. He was confident, he knew he could play a good game. It was hard to watch all those games and not be able to help the team. “



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