There are guardians who defend the philosophy of short-term memory. They forget the defeats and the bad goals. But there are also other guards who have memories like Fern, aka Paul Houde, in the classic film. Boys.
Montembeault has a little bit of Fern in him. And he serves her well.
According to official statistics, Montembeault blocked 45 shots in this 4-3 victory against the New York Rangers. But we don’t count the three more stops in the penalty shootout against Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafrenière.
Of the three saves in the shootout, the most spectacular came against Zibanejad, where he stuck out his stick to stop a backhand shot with one hand.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said number 35. “I try not to think too much when the guys go into the penalty shootout. If they make a feint that you don’t expect, they can catch you. He did the same thing against me last year, but he scored. He had me in love with his feint. He did the same thing again, but I managed to follow him. He did a one-handed backhand, but I saved him.”
On March 9, 2023, Zibanejad scored the only goal of the shootout in the Rangers’ 4–3 win against CH at the Bell Centre. Almost ten months later, the Quebecer enjoyed his revenge against the Swede.
But it is not only Zibanejad’s work that testifies to Montembeault’s great memory.
At the end of his conversation with reporters in the locker room, the masked man talked about his first start in the CH uniform against the Sabers in Buffalo. It was October 14, 2021. More than two years ago.
“We lost 5-2 in Buffalo, but if you give me a little time I can probably describe the five goals against me,” he responded.
Montembeault proved it wasn’t a bluff by checking three of the five goals with surgical precision and mimicking the spots where he was hit. However, he made a small mistake in the final score: 5 to 1.
Marks on the neck
With 45 saves, Montembeault recorded a career-high this season, but it was his fourth-highest total in a Canadian uniform.
He will keep the memory of this match against Rangers for a few more days. He had redness on both sides of his neck.
“This afternoon I received three blows to the neck,” he said. There was a shot by Trouba, a shot by Zibanejad in the second period and a little backhand shot in the first.”
In the final seconds of overtime, Jacob Trouba fired a missile at Montembeault’s head. The powerful hit followed a Zibanejad throw that looked more like a baseball changeup.
“I played catcher in my youth, so I guess that came in handy,” Montembeault said, smiling.