Canadiens Shutout Ducks


Jocelyn Thibault is not giving any ammunition to the detractors who wanted him traded over the off-season.

Thibault made 30 saves and Vladimir Malakhov scored the only goal as the Montreal Canadiens beat Anaheim 1-0 Tuesday night to hand the Mighty Ducks their third straight defeat.

Thibault

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  • recorded his seventh career shutout and lowered his goals-against average for the season to 0.50 after two games.

    "I always have trouble in training camp," said Thibault, who allowed nearly five goals per game in the preseason, when rumors were rife that the Canadiens would trade him and bring in Felix Potvin from Toronto.

    "I try to get everything together for the start of the season. But we've got 80 games left. It's a good start. It's fun and it gives me confidence, but there's lots of hockey left to play."

    Malakhov, who missed all of training camp in contract negotiations, one-timed a pass from Mark Recchi past goaltender Guy Hebert on a power play 10:28 into the second period.

    The Canadiens, 7-1 winners over the New York Rangers on Saturday, have begun the season 2-0 while the Ducks were shut out for the second time in their three games.

    Anaheim has scored only one goal -- by Paul Kariya in a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday -- for the season. The Ducks end a four-game road trip Thursday night in Chicago.

    "We need one to bounce in off someone or something," Kariya said. "If we just get a lucky break, then we can relax and the goals will start coming. We're getting our opportunities and we can't get frustrated."

    The Ducks outshot Montreal 30-24 in the only scheduled meeting of the season between the teams.

    The announced crowd of 20,046 chanted Thibault's name after fine third-period saves on Teemu Selanne and Tomas Sandstrom, and then a quick glove save on a backhander from the slot by Kariya.

    Many in the crowd were likely among those who wanted Thibault ut last spring when he struggled in the playoffs for the second year in a row.

    Thibault, 24, who has carried the heavy load of replacing local legend Patrick Roy for the past three seasons, said that's part of hockey life in Montreal.

    "The fans here have been hard on me," he said. "I can live with that. I just try to relax and have fun. Now, they're on my side and that's fun, too. That's the way it is here. When things are not going well, people underestimate you. When things are going well, they overestimate you.

    "It's the same with the forwards. If a checker scores a couple of goals, they think he's a 50-goal scorer. That's fine. We've won our first two games and we're off to a good start."

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