The Arizona Coyotes gave the rookie a trial by fire and Domingue passed, shaking off a tough start to the Sunday afternoon tilt to earn two points in an upset of the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
There was no objective reason to believe Arizona would beat Montreal Sunday afternoon. After all, the Coyotes have struggled mightily this season and were coming off a 7-2 wipeout at the hands of Ottawa just one day prior. Plus, the Desert Dogs were giving rookie Louis Domingue his first-ever NHL start against the hot Canadiens, his hometown team.
But then hockey magic happened.
Domingue, who grew up in the Montreal suburb of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, stopped 18 shots at the Bell Centre and leapt into the air when the final buzzer sounded in an unlikely 3-2 road win for the Coyotes. Best of all? His parents and a bunch of family and friends were in the stands:
Not bad. And certainly a boost the Coyotes needed, especially given the way the game started. Initially, Domingue appeared to be in for a nightmare homecoming, with Alex Galchenyuk popping two goals past the netminder before the game was even five minutes old. Arizona didn’t look particularly frisky in front of him early on, but the Habs left the gate open and managed just 20 shots all game, losing the possession war in the process.
Since Carey Price was given the day off in favor of Dustin Tokarski, Montreal couldn’t rely on their star goaltender to bail them out and the result was an unforgettable moment for Domingue, who played most of his junior hockey with the Quebec Remparts and even warranted consideration for Canada’s 2012 world junior team. Since then, he has bounced between the AHL and ECHL, which is not surprising for a young netminder.
Now, he gets to add an NHL win to his ledger.