Eric Staal makes perfect 1st impression with OT goal in Canadiens debut

Steven Psihogios
·1 min read

You only have one chance to make a first impression, and did Eric Staal ever make the most of his on Monday with the Montreal Canadiens.

In his first game since being acquired via trade from the Buffalo Sabres, Staal buried the game-winning goal in overtime with under a minute remaining in the frame to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2.

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If there were fans in the Bell Centre, it would have been an absolute madhouse.

Staal’s marker capped off an impressive comeback by the Habs as Montreal rallied from a 2-0 deficit entering the third period. Goals from Josh Anderson and Tomas Tatar helped set up the dramatic and joyous moment.

Leaving the struggling Sabres for the Canadiens is a plus for a veteran player like Staal, who spoke about his excitement in joining the group prior to his first game.

MONTREAL, QC - APRIL 05: Montreal Canadiens center Eric Staal (21) celebrates his goal with Montreal Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber (6) during the Edmonton Oilers versus the Montreal Canadiens game on April 5, 2021, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Eric Staal's overtime goal led the Montreal Canadiens past the Edmonton Oilers in his team debut. (David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"It was great. A lot of elbow bumps and fist bumps. Obviously times are a little different," Staal said. "It was exciting. I had some slight nerves, for sure. That's just the reality of coming into a new situation, especially mid-stream. Everybody's been phenomenal. This is an incredible organization and hockey market. I’m just excited to try and integrate and be myself and enjoy the experience."

So far, the 17-year pro has done an excellent job integrating himself into the team.

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