November 27, 2015


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Hot new audition from Montoya

MONTREAL -- A quarterback controversy can eat up a football team, dividing and devouring it. But two goaltenders battling for regular work in the crease can be a coach's dream.

Al Montoya continued to make his case for an increased workload in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, stopping 30 of 31 shots en route to being named the first star.

He is now 2-0 in his two starts under new coach Paul Maurice, was the first star in both games and has kicked out 59 of the 61 attempts fired his way.

"This is big for us," said Montoya. "To come into a building like this... we knew they played (Saturday, a 2-1 OT loss to Tampa) so we had to jump on them in the first period. Give it all to the guys: We battled. We might not have had it the whole night, but we put it together when we had to and good things happened.

"We battled. We kept them to the outside and, for the most part, I knew where everything was coming from. I made that first save and the guys were there to battle. For the most part, it was a single shot and just keep the puck in front of me. We knew they had good point shots. We knew they all funnel to the net. Basically, we took care of what we had to."

Now the question is, will Montoya start Tuesday in Raleigh as the Jets' four-game road trip continues with a matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes?

Maurice won't provide any hints, but it's clear Montoya deserves another start ASAP.

"When he played the way he did in Chicago you know you've got to get a guy like that back in within seven to eight days at the most," said Maurice. "Otherwise he's starting from scratch all the time. He played so well, just like he did tonight. He made some great saves. He just plays well when you put him in the net.

"That's great for our team to know that feeling, that whoever is in the net they have confidence in and I'm happy for him."


GALLAGHER, THE PEST: Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher may be small, but he is a master shift-disturber. He took three minor penalties against the Jets -- one of which ended a power play -- but did earn kudos from the Jets.

"He's tough," said Jets defenceman Mark Stuart, who battled Gallagher all afternoon. "He's a tough little bugger. We had a couple good battles in front. It's all in the battle. He's not a very big guy and he gets in there in front and doesn't let guys push him around. You respect guys like that." Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 3, 2014 C3

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