The biggest Bell Centre ovation on Tuesday night was not for Carey Price’s brilliance in net, Brendan Gallagher’s game-winning goal or the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars, but for an assist by veteran defenceman Andrei Markov.
By flipping a pass to Artturi Lehkonen for a one-timer that beat Kari Lehtonen, Markov moved into a tie with Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe for second in career points by a Montreal Canadiens defenceman with 572, behind only Larry Robinson’s 833.
When the assist was announced, the sellout crowd rose and applauded the Russian rearguard who has been a stalwart on the Montreal defence since 2000-01.
“I couldn’t think of a guy that’s more deserving,” said captain Max Pacioretty. “In the years I’ve played with him, he’s overcome so much adversity.
“I’m so happy for him. He’s probably the best player I’ve played with.”
Alexander Radulov also scored for Montreal (43-24-9), which won a second game in a row.
Curtis McKenzie scored for Dallas (31-34-11), which ended a four-game points streak. The Stars played their first game since learning they had been eliminated from playoff contention.
Benn vs. Benn
The game was not a classic, although Price and Lehtonen each needed to make a handful of excellent saves to keep the game close until Montreal broke it open with three third-period goals. Montreal outshot the Stars 36-28.
Even the much-anticipated Benn vs. Benn matchup turned out to be a snooze, as the Stars’ Jamie Benn and Montreal defenceman Jordie Benn were only on the ice at the same time for a few brief moments in their first-ever game against one another. The longest stretch was during a third-period Dallas power play.
“I skated by him on the bench once and punched him in the glove, but that’s as close as I got to him,” Jamie Benn said. “Losing is not fun, but playing against him was pretty fun.
“Not sure if we even had a shift together, but he looks good in the red and blue. We’ll probably remember that one for…