The Montreal Canadiens won the opening game on Wednesday of the North Division Final of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. At the Bell Manitoba Telecommunications Services Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-3.
The Canadiens were led in scoring by Canadian Olympic gold medalist Eric Staal of Thunder Bay, Ontario, and defensemen Joel Edmundson of Brandon, Manitoba, and former Edmonton Oilers blueliner Jeff Petry. Staal, who won a gold medal for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, had one goal and one assist for two points, while Edmundson and Petry each had two assists. The other four Canadiens goal scorers were Jake Evans of Toronto, Ontario, Brendan Gallagher of Edmonton, Alberta, Nick Suzuki of London, Ontario, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
After a brilliant display of goaltending against the Edmonton Oilers, Connor Hellebuyck struggled mightily in between the Jets net on Wednesday. He was clearly outplayed by Canadiens goaltender and Canadian Olympic gold medalist Carey Price of Vancouver, British Columbia. Price won the gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
There is a possibility that Jets forward Mark Scheifele will be suspended for a hit on Evans in the final minute of the third period when Evans was scoring into an empty net to close out the scoring. Scheifele is having a hearing on Thursday.