Armstrong relieved to end goal slump with Canadiens

BROSSARD, Que. — Colby Armstrong wasn’t brought to the Montreal Canadiens to score goals, but it was still a relief when one finally went in. It took the 30-year-old until his 28th game to score in Montreal’s 2-1 victory over the Devils in New Jersey on Saturday night. The effect of the load lifted from his shoulders was evident in his upraised arms and beaming smile on the ice.

BROSSARD, Que. — Colby Armstrong wasn’t brought to the Montreal Canadiens to score goals, but it was still a relief when one finally went in.

It took the 30-year-old until his 28th game to score in Montreal’s 2-1 victory over the Devils in New Jersey on Saturday night. The effect of the load lifted from his shoulders was evident in his upraised arms and beaming smile on the ice.

“Especially in the last five or so games before that I had quite a few good chances,” he said Monday. “I didn’t know whether to snap, or laugh, or what to do.

“But you keep chipping away. You know it’s going to come. I’ve been in that position before, where it’s taken a lot of games to get a goal. This is the longest I’ve ever gone, but it’s good to make it count in a close game like that.”

Armstrong patrols right wing on Montreal’s fourth line with Ryan White and Travis Moen. Together, they have four goals this season.

“We’re a good energy line,” he said. “We try to wear out their defence with a lot of offensive zone cycling.

“We’ve had some chances. It’s nice to chip in.”

It’s hard to imagine that Armstrong was once a decent scorer. He had seasons of 16 and 12 goals early in his career with Pittsburgh and a career-high 22 as an Atlanta Thrasher in 2008-09.

But after signing as a free agent with Toronto in 2010, his production fell to eight in 50 games in 2010-11 and one in 29 games last season before he had his contract bought out.

Montreal inked him to a one-year deal on the recommendation of new coach Michel Therrien, who worked with Armstrong in the Penguins’ system.

He joined a team that was in the basement of the NHL Eastern Conference last season but is now battling for first place with a 19-5-4 record.

The Canadiens take a five-game winning streak into a home game Tuesday night against Buffalo.

Part of the team’s success has been balanced scoring from it’s top three lines and help on the attack from the defence.

A year ago, if the top unit of David Desharnais with Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole wasn’t scoring, almost no one did.

This season, Tomas Plekanec’s line has been the most productive, with Desharnais’ unit close behind and with Lars Eller’s third line also contributing. Rookie Brendan Gallagher has replaced the departed Cole on Desharnais’ right side.

“When you’re winning, you’re doing things right,” said Eller. “The good thing about it is that everybody is chipping in.

“We’re not relying on one or two guys to steal the games for us. Of course (goalie) Carey Price is big for us, but as far as players go, we’re a deep team and a new line can step up each night and make a difference. That’s a strength we can be proud of.”

The Canadiens have a chance to pad their record with three games against teams currently out of playoff position this week. They face Buffalo on Tuesday and Saturday at home, with a visit to the Islanders in New York on Thursday night.

However, they were beaten 5-4 in overtime in their last meeting with the Sabres in Buffalo on Feb. 2 and their most recent loss was a 6-3 decision on Long Island the last time they faced the Islanders on March 5.

“You don’t go into any game nowadays thinking you should win,” said captain Brian Gionta. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

Michel Ryder was back at practice after missing a game with a lower body injury and will be back on Plekanec’s left wing. Injured players Brandon Prust, Rene Bourque and Yannick Weber skated separately and all three are getting closer to returning, although Therrien gave none of them a timeline. Defenceman Raphael Diaz (concussion) has not resumed skating.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read