Montreal Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki (14) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Blake Wheeler (26) and Derek Forbort (24) defend during first-period NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Winnipeg, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Montreal Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki (14) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Blake Wheeler (26) and Derek Forbort (24) defend during first-period NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey action in Winnipeg, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Canadiens beat Jets 5-3 in Game 1, Montreal forward Jake Evans taken off on stretcher

NHL playoffs: Evans takes big hit from Winnipeg forward Mark Scheifele

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Eric Staal scored early in the first period to set the stage for the Montreal Canadiens’ 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Game 1 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series on Wednesday.

Montreal also got a goals from Nick Suzuki, Brendan Gallagher and Jake Evans. Joel Edmundson and Jeff Petry each added a pair of assists. Carey Price made 27 saves.

The victory was marred when Evans had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher after he scored an empty-net goal with 57 seconds remaining. He was crushed by Jets centre Mark Scheifele as he was going around the net to score and laid on the ice. Scheifele was given a major for charging and a game misconduct.

Adam Lowry, Derek Forbort and Kyle Connor, with 1:42 left in the third, scored for Winnipeg. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series goes Friday in Winnipeg.

Three of Montreal’s goals were scored in the first period, beginning with Kotkaniemi at 3:30 and Staal at 5:10.

The players had more than canned crowd noise to hear inside Bell MTS Place for the first time this season.

The Manitoba government is allowing 500 fully vaccinated health-care workers to attend this week’s two playoff games. More than 6,000 workers entered their names in a lottery to win a ticket.

READ MORE: 550 health-care workers invited to attend Game 7 between Maple Leafs and Canadiens

“Utter shock,” advanced care paramedic Mike McMillan said of getting one of the coveted ducts. “It was pretty breathtaking. It’s a beautiful gesture for the past 16 months.”

Manitoba is under code red restrictions that forbid public gatherings, but the health orders were changed for the games. Immediate family of Jets’ players, coaches and other staff could also watch the game inside the rink.

“It just felt like I could just go back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Terri Jeanson, a laboratory technologist in clinical research. “I know there’s some people that are upset about it, but it definitely makes it worth what we do.”

The Canadiens were the first NHL team in Canada to have a crowd this year, allowing 2,500 fans to attend Game 6 against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday after Quebec loosened restrictions.

The Leafs followed up by covering the cost for 550 fully vaccinated health-care workers to attend Game 7 against the Canadiens on Monday after being given the green light by Ontario.

The Winnipeg fans, who were given white shirts and hand towels, didn’t have a chance to wave the towels in joy early in the first period.

Kotkaniemi redirected a point shot by Petry for his fourth goal of the playoffs. Staal quickly made it 2-0 with his first goal.

Winnipeg lost a player before and during the game.

Veteran Winnipeg centre Paul Statsny (undisclosed) didn’t play. Defenceman Dylan DeMelo left the game early in the first and didn’t return because of a lower-body injury.

Fans finally got a chance to jump out of their spaced-apart seats when Lowry scored shorthanded after defenceman Erik Gustafsson turned over the puck near the blue line. Lowry raced toward the net and slipped a backhand shot under Price’s pad at 11:52.

Suzuki reinstated the two-goal lead at 17:14 during a 2-on-1 rush with Edmundson.

Winnipeg outshot the visitors 11-9 in the scoreless second period, and 22-21 up to that point.

Forbort closed the gap to 3-2 at 9:22 of the third, but Gallagher potted a rebound after a Shea Weber breakaway on the power play at 11:04.

Before the game, hockey analysts wondered if the Jets would have to shake off some rust.

It was Winnipeg’s first game since May 24, when it swept the Edmonton Oilers in the North Division first round. Montreal erased a 3-1 series deficit and eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.

— Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

hockeyMontrealNHLWinnipeg

Just Posted

Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced the province's reopening plan late last month and moved into Stage 1 of that plan Tuesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Travel prizes added to Alberta’s vaccine lottery

More than 40 travel rewards available for those who are fully vaccinated

Town of Castor
Town of Castor meeting highlights for June 14th

The Town has appointed a returning officer for this fall’s municipal elections

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer down to 102 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 332 cases with 26 in hospital and five in ICU

Members of Castor Volunteer Fire Rescue were out about the town on June 8th doing Self Contained Breathing Apparatus training and contributing to the month-long ParticipACTION fitness challenge for the Paintearth Choosewell team, which currently sits in third place in the province. 
photo submitted
Members of Castor Volunteer Fire Rescue were out June 8th doing Self Contained Breathing Apparatus training

They were also contributing to the month-long ParticipACTION fitness challenge for the Paintearth Choosewell team

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

COVID-related trash is washing up on shorelines across the world, including Coldstream’s Kal Beach, as pictured in this May 2021 photograph. (Jennifer Smith - Black Press)
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Three calves were recently shot dead in Lacombe County near Mirror. (Photo from Facebook)
Calves shot and left for dead in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP investigating three shootings

Most Read