The young Montreal Canadiens are learning rapidly.
Stephan Lebeau had a goal and two assists Saturday night at Montreal, leading the Canadiens to a 7-1 victory over the Boston Bruins that completed a home-and-home sweep.
Lebeau, a 22-year-old center in his second season in the NHL, also had a key goal during the Canadiens’ 6-4 victory in Boston Thursday night.
The sweep lifted the Canadiens into first place in the Adams Division and belied Coach Pat Burns’ prediction that inexperience would hold back his team for at least half a season.
“This is such a young team, " Burns said recently, “that we have to spend many hours teaching and coaching. Don’t expect us to do too well until the second half of the season.”
The Canadiens have won three in a row since Burns made the comment.
Before Wednesday’s game the Canadiens, the worst power-play team in the league, had only 13 goals in 132 opportunities.
After getting two power-play goals Wednesday, they scored their first two goals with a man advantage in this one. They scored three times in their first seven shots at goalie Andy Moog, who left after a period trailing, 3-0.
Chicago 2, Toronto 1--Steve Larmer might be as good a two-way player as there is in hockey. He is a major reason why the Blackhawks lead the Norris Division.
Larmer is the team’s leading scorer and is a key member of the penalty-killing team.
Larmer, who had two goals and three assists in a victory Thursday night, scored the winning goal in the second period at Toronto.
St. Louis 2, Detroit 1--Rich Sutter proved too much for the Red Wings again at St. Louis as the Blues swept a home-and-home series.
Sutter, who scored twice Friday night to lead the Blues to a 6-3 victory at Detroit, scored the decisive goal in the last minute of the second period in this one.
Minnesota 7, Philadelphia 0--Brian Propp came back to haunt his former teammates in this game at Bloomington, Minn.
Propp, who spent seven seasons with the Flyers, had a goal and an assist in a three-goal first period that made it easy for goalie Brian Hayward. Hayward had 22 saves in his first shutout for the North Stars.
Hartford 3, Pittsburgh 1--The Whalers finally put an end to their slump on home ice. Adam Burt, called up from the minors earlier in the day, scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Whalers ended a five-game home winless streak.
New Jersey 4, Washington 2--The Devils’ Brendan Shanahan had a goal and set up two others at East Rutherford, N.J. The Devils took advantage of sloppy defense to get a split in the home-and-home series.