MONTREAL – The much-anticipated first NHL meeting between brothers Malcolm and P.K. Subban turned out to be a bit of a dud.
P.K. Subban, the Norris Trophy winning defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens, managed one feeble shot against 19-year-old Malcolm, a goaltending prospect for the arch-rival Boston Bruins.
And the Bruins outshot Montreal 40-20 and blew the game open with three third period goals en route to a 6-3 pre-season victory on Monday night.
Malcolm Subban stopped all 12 shots he faced—none of them terribly difficult—after entering the game in relief of Chad Johnson midway through the second frame.
“I didn’t get very many shots, but it was good for sure,” said the younger Subban, a top goalie in the Ontario Hockey League for the Belleville Bulls who was a 2012 first-round pick by Boston. “Obviously it was a great experience and a fun time.”
P.K. Subban, who had beaten Johnson with a rocket on a power play in the second period, didn’t get much on his one attempt on his brother.
“I think he had one that was probably his slowest shot ever, just a little knuckle-puck on net, but it was pretty fun,” Malcolm said with a laugh.
Jarome Iginla scored twice, including the game-winner, while Nick Johnson, with two, David Krejci and Zach Trotman also had goals for the Bruins, who scored three each on Carey Price and Robert Mayer. Boston went 4-for-6 on the power play.
Travis Moen, Max Pacioretty and Subban scored as Johnson allowed three goals on only eight shots.
The Subbans’ father, grandfather and next door neighbour were in from Toronto to see them play against each other for the first time at the level.
It’s something that is likely to be a regular occurrence in regular season and even playoff games once Malcolm is established as an NHL goalie.
Then they will be part of the bitter rivalry between teams that are old foes. But this time was low key.
When Malcolm entered the game, there was a tepid mix of boos and cheers from the Bell Centre fans, even though it had been the talk of the town for much of the day. One downtown pub even offered customers a free shot of whiskey if P.K. scored on his brother.
It was not to be.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” said P.K. Subban. “We made eye contact, but we lost the game, so I’m not going to smile or talk to him too much.
“I’ll see him after the game. I’m sure he’ll rib me about the loss. But I was just playing the game. If I had scored on him, great, but I’m just trying to help the team win. I thought he handled himself well for his first game.”
It was probably best for Boston coach Claude Julien to get the Subban versus Subban sideshow out of the way in a pre-season game, rather than having the youngster do it under pressure and a circus atmosphere in the regular season.
“I think it’s something special and it’s an opportunity I was able to give him,” said Julien, still looking for a backup for starter Tuukka Rask. “It was done on purpose and it was done for the right reasons.
“I liked his game tonight very much. He looked in control, he looked calm. He made the saves look easy because he was well-positioned. He’s showing good signs of maturity, and that’s the biggest challenge for goaltenders when they turn professional.
“Certainly he’s on the right track and I couldn’t have been happier for him in his first game against his brother.”
After the game, the Canadiens cut 14 players, including Mayer and 2009 first-rounder Louis Leblanc.
Three will return to Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams—Zach Fucale to Halifax, Charles Hudon to Chicoutimi and Martin Reway to Gatineau.
The rest were assigned to AHL Hamilton.