Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dionne's Goal Boosts Canadiens 4-3

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dionne's Goal Boosts Canadiens 4-3

Article excerpt

Gilbert Dionne scored with 2 minutes 18 seconds left in the third period to provide the difference as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Hartford Whalers 4-3 in a National Hockey League season opener Wednesday night.

Only 23 seconds after Patrick Poulin tied the game for Hartford, Dionne was left alone in front of goaltender Frank Pietrangelo. Dionne put the puck on his forehand side and fired it into an open net.

Kirk Muller, Mike Keane and Vincent Damphousse scored in the opening 5:40 of the third period to erase a two-goal Hartford lead and spoil what had been a strong checking game by the Whalers.

Robert Petrovicky and Jim McKenzie scored for Hartford in the first period.

Montreal outshot the Whalers 25-23.

The crowd of 16,430 gave the Stanley Cup champions a standing ovation before the game, but was booing the Canadiens by the second period for their loose play and failure to mount a sustained attack. Montreal dominated the final period.

Brad McCrimmon cleared the puck and caught Montreal on a line change as Petrovicky, 19, outraced Lyle Odelein and jammed it past Patrick Roy 5:38 into the game.

Hartford made it 2-0 at 18:47 when Roy, attempting to push the puck to his defense, passed instead to McKenzie, whose shot trickled into the net.

Damphousse's shot rebounded off Zarley Zalapski onto Muller's stick in the slot for a quick shot that beat Pietrangelo to start the third period.

Chris Pronger, the 18-year-old defenseman drafted second overall by Hartford last June, took a regular shift and played on power plays and penalty killingr.

Only four minutes into the game, Canadiens right winger Ed Ronan was carried from the ice on a stretcher and taken to hospital with a concussion.

Ronan was being taken out of the play by defenseman Dan Keczmer when he lost his footing and slammed the back of his head against the boards. He lay motionless for several minutes before he was carried off.

In a ceremony before the game, a banner proclaiming Montreal's 24th Stanley Cup title was hoisted to The Forum ceiling by Jean Beliveau, the Hall of Fame center who retired as Canadiens vice president last month after 40 years with the organization. …

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