Tomas Tatar had buried the winner of the shootout and the Habs edged the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. For the first time this season, Montreal scored an out-of-regulation victory.
In nine other games, the Canadiens (14-8-9) had to settle for just one point.
“It’s really nice to get rid of the proverbial monkey,” goaltender Carey Price said. “I guess now we can just move on. We have another one, we’ll try to win that one. ”
Tatar deftly handled the tight puck and when Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby rushed right to make a save, the veteran left winger popped a backhand into the left side of the net.
His shot broke the deadlock in the sixth round of the shootout after a home and away game that saw four header changes.
“We were very happy with the victory. It was a great one-match roller coaster, ”said Tatar, who also had a goal and a settlement assist. “We stuck with it and that’s a big two points for sure. ”
Nick Suzuki, Joel Edmundson and Brendan Gallagher also found the back of the net for Montreal, while Shea Weber and Phillip Danault each had two assists.
The Canadians held a one-goal lead heading into the second and third periods, but saw Vancouver strike early in each frame.
Twenty-two seconds after the start of the third, Canucks captain Bo Horvat won a faceoff in the offensive zone and the puck slid to Quinn Hughes at the blue line. The defender triggered an explosion and Horvat, stationed in front of the Habs net, tipped him for the equalizer.
Tyler Motte gave the Canucks the lead 33 seconds later, collecting a assist from Jayce Hawryluk and giving Price a shot in the past.
The Canadians refused to go there quietly, however.
Danault won a face-off mid-period and Gallagher picked up the puck. He wasted no time tearing a wrist in front of Holtby to make it 4-4.
“It was a tough game. Give Montreal credit. They played well tonight. It was a tough game. I liked that we fought, ”said Canucks coach Travis Green. It was a tough game for our team and a well-deserved point. ”
Horvat had a two-point night with a goal and an assist. Jake Virtanen, Brock Boeser and Motte also scored for Vancouver (16-16-3) and Hughes added a pair of assists.
It was a busy night for Holtby, who recorded 36 saves in the settlement. Price stopped 14 of 18 shots for the Canadiens.
Each team was perfect with the man advantage on Saturday going 1 to 1 on the power play.
The game was the ninth and final meeting between the two teams this season. Montreal won the series with a 6-0-3 record. On Friday, the Canucks snatched a 3-2 overtime victory from the Canadiens.
Vancouver was playing its fourth game in six days on Saturday and fatigue played a role in the performance, Horvat said.
“We’re playing a back-to-back game on a long road trip like this. Lots of hockey. Obviously, this will take into account. But no excuses, ”he said. “They were back to back too. I think we were visibly a little tired, but at the same time I thought we fought hard, stuck with our game, didn’t go to bed. ”
Montreal paid for its mistakes on Saturday, said interim coach Dominique Ducharme.
“I think we should have won in 60 minutes,” he said.
Ducharme was however happy to see his group finally achieve a victory outside the regulations.
“This is something we can stop talking about,” he said. “At some point it becomes mental. It’s like a goalscorer scoring a goal when he’s in a crisis. This is how it starts. ”
The Canadians would like to dominate every game every game, but that’s just not the reality in the NHL, Gallagher said.
“With the parity in the league, the competitiveness and the importance of every point, that just won’t happen,” he said. “You’re going to have to go through tight games, learn how to win tight hockey games. ”
Gallagher may have a new lucky charm to help Montreal achieve victories in tough competitions.
The Canadiens forward was seen rubbing the helmet of teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi as Tatar made his way to the ice in the shootout on Saturday. Gallagher said he used to rub Cale Fleury’s head in shootouts, but the defenseman is currently stationed with the Laval Rockets in the American Hockey League, so he turned to Kotkaniemi on the bench.
“I kind of forgot until (Tatar) went there, so this was the first time I started rubbing my head,” Gallagher explained. go do. ”
The Canadiens continue their stay at home on Monday, starting a three-game series with the Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks will host the Winnipeg Jets that same night.
NOTES: Saturday’s result ended a four-game winning streak for Vancouver. … Horvat collected his 300th point in the NHL, scoring an assist on Boeser’s goal. … Canadiens center Tyler Toffoli missed Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury. Toffoli has been the key to Montreal’s offense this season, totaling 27 points (18 goals, nine assists) in 30 games. … Vancouver put forwards Elias Pettersson and Tanner Pearson on the long-term injured reserve.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 20, 2021.