Final - OT
  for this game

Aebischer stymies Maple Leafs as Canadiens win shootout

Oct 8, 2006 - 2:22 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Montreal Canadiens looked lost in their season-opening shootout loss on Friday. Apparently, David Aebischer was the answer.

Aebischer stopped 36 shots in his season debut and Michael Ryder scored the winning goal in the shootout to lead the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.

Acquired last season from Colorado at the trade deadline, Aebischer currently is Montreal's backup goaltender behind starter Cristobal Huet.

But after not playing in Friday's 5-4 shootout loss to Buffalo, Aebischer made a bid for more playing time one night later, turning aside all 15 shots he faced in the third and overtime periods.

"There's no easy game as a goaltender," said Aebischer, who came to Montreal last March in exchange for 2002 Hart Trophy winner Jose Theodore. "It's tough. There are a lot of scoring chances and you have to work hard, but our defense played really well."

After Toronto's Alexei Ponikarovsky rang a shot off the crossbar to open the fourth round of the shootout, Ryder wrapped up Montreal's first win of the campaign by snapping a shot past the glove of netminder Andrew Raycroft.

"I'm just glad it didn't take a couple of weeks to get the first win," Canadiens first-year coach Guy Carbonneau said.

"Tonight, we just kept pushing hard and managed to tie it up and win it in the shootout," said Ryder, who came up empty in Friday's shootout. "Last night, I deked and didn't have that much success. Guys were telling me to shoot, and I was definitely going to shoot tonight."

The Canadiens trailed, 2-1, early in the third period when Mike Johnson forced overtime with his first goal, a one-timer from the slot off a feed from Alexander Perezhogin.

"They got a little tangled up with the turnover behind the net," Johnson said. "I was cruising in and I was happy to get the puck."

Defenseman Sheldon Souray scored a power-play tally in the first period for Montreal, which successfully killed five of its six penalties in the game.

"Great job by our PK," Aebischer said. "They have a great power play, and the guys in front of me did a really wonderful job."

Raycroft made 31 saves and Darcy Tucker netted his team-leading third goal for the Maple Leafs, who have dropped their first two home games this season.

"You lose a point - it's a hard pill to swallow, especially knowing that we played a really good game and (Raycroft) had a helluva game for us," said Toronto center Matt Stajan, who tallied in the second period. "It's tough whenever you lose in a shootout."

The Maple Leafs missed a golden opportunity to win in overtime after Canadiens left wing Sergei Samsonov was whistled for hooking at 2:01 of the extra session. Aebischer made a pair of outstanding glove saves to help Montreal kill the penalty.

"I thought for 90 percent of that game, they worked their (tails) off," Toronto coach Paul Maurice said. "We had so many top-end chances in the slot."

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