In the Habs' Room: 'Not the team I wanted to lose to,' Charlie Lindgren says

Charlie Lindgren is no longer Mr. Perfect for the Canadiens.

The rookie goaltender suffered the first loss of his NHL career Thursday night, dropping a 3-0 decision to the Minnesota Wild at the Bell Centre with the last goal into an empty net.

Lindgren, who was making his third straight start in place of the injured Carey Price, stopped 32 of the 34 shots he faced as his career NHL record fell to 5-1-0 with an impressive 1.50 goals-against average and .953 save percentage. All three Wild goals were scored in the third period by Jason Zucker.

“After the second period, you knew whoever popped that first one was going to have a big advantage,” Lindgren said.

The Canadiens scored two goals, but they were both called off. Defenceman Karl Alzner appeared to score in the first period, but the goal was waved off immediately by referee Kevin Pollock because of a high stick and the call stuck after a video review.

“I said (to the ref): ‘You know I only score three a year … you got to let me have those,’ ” Alzner said after the game. “At least say inconclusive on the ice … don’t call it no goal right away. But he didn’t even know it was me, so I didn’t get the bounce.

“I saw that one replay that they showed in house and it gave me a little bit of hope, but it’s hard to tell,” Alzner added. “I’m sure they looked at five or six different replays so they must have got it right or they said inconclusive. So it’s all good.”

In the third period, Charles Hudon put the puck in the net on a rebound and it looked like the Canadiens had cut the Wild’s lead to 2-1 with 5:00 left. But the Wild called for a video challenge on goalie interference and it was ruled no goal. Coach Claude Julien wasn’t happy about the call and lip readers watching on TV saw him say something that rhymes with truck.

“Every call that’s being reviewed is a 50/50 situation,” a frustrated Julien said after the game. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen because you’ll see it one day it’s going to be a good goal. The next day, it looks like it’s the same thing, but the referees that are reviewing it are seeing it differently. So that’s what we have to, I guess, accept for the time being.”

Lindgren was eventually going to lose a game and it’s too bad it had to happen with his parents, Bob and Jennifer, at the Bell Centre for the first time to watch him in action, making the trip from their home in Minnesota. Bob also played goalie until he was 19 and has always been a big Canadiens fan with Ken Dryden as his idol. Charlie cheered for the Wild as a kid.

“I just looked at it as another game,” Lindgren said. “But it’s definitely not the team I wanted to lose to.”

The Canadiens went into the game without their No. 1 goalie Price (lower-body injury), their No. 1 defenceman Shea Weber, who suffered a lower-body injury at practice Wednesday, and their No. 1 centre Jonathan Drouin, who suffered an upper-body injury in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Despite the loss, Lindgren was looking forward to seeing his parents after the game.

“I haven’t seen them for a couple of months,” the goalie said. “My dad was a big Habs fan, so I’m sure he’s really soaking it all in.”