Canadiens dig themselves another hole, fall to Coyotes
MONTREAL — A rapid start sent the Arizona Coyotes on their way to a win over Montreal.
Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan scored in the first period, and Arizona held on for a 3-2 victory over the Canadiens on Thursday night.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson added a power-play goal early in the second for the Coyotes, who lost their previous two games.
"I liked our speed," coach Dave Tippett said. "We played the game fast. That’s the team we’re trying to become."
Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise each had a goal for the Canadiens (14-4-2), who have gone four games without winning in regulation. They have allowed 16 goals while going 1-2-1 during that stretch.
But there was good news after the game: Montreal coach Michel Therrien announced star goalie Carey Price will play Friday in New York against the Islanders. It will be the first start for last season’s NHL MVP and Vezina Trophy winner since he sustained a lower-body injury Oct. 29 in Edmonton.
Arizona scored three times on its first six shots against rookie Mike Condon as Montreal fell behind 3-0 for the third game in a row.
But while the Canadiens were able to come back for a 4-3 overtime win against Vancouver in their last outing, the Coyotes and goalie Mike Smith held off a late charge this time.
The 25-year-old Condon made his ninth straight start. He went 5-2-2 in that span, going six games without a regulation loss before dropping two of the last three.
"He’s been good for us," Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher said. "Look at his composure since training camp. … And even in games where we fall behind like this, he seems to make one or two really big saves to keep it at the deficit and give us a chance to come back. That’s what you want from your goalie."
Condon allowed eight goals in five starts after Price was injured, but permitted 16 goals in the next four.
The Canadiens gave up an early score for the fifth straight game when Montreal native Anthony Duclair used a burst of speed to set up Hanzal for a goal into an open side at 5:04.
A puck hopped over Gallagher’s stick and Tobias Rieder was able to whip a shot off Condon’s shoulder that fell to Doan for a tap-in goal at 9:17.
Ekman-Larsson, with a point in his seventh straight game, cruised into the slot to collect a loose puck and beat Condon with a high wrist shot on a power play 3:51 into the second.
Pacioretty got one back when Gallagher’s pass went off a skate and the Canadiens’ captain was able to backhand it inside the right post at 16:59.
Weise deflected Andrei Markov’s shot in at 19:09 of the third with Condon pulled for an extra attacker.
Montreal outshot the Coyotes 33-20, including 14-7 in the third.
Arizona lost the first two of its four-game road swing by 5-2 scores before arriving in Montreal, where the team had two days to regroup.
"I was hoping we’d play well," Tippett said. "We haven’t played well for a couple of games and I was hoping we’d come in and have a really solid effort and we did."
The trip ends Saturday in Winnipeg, where Doan began his career in 1995-96.
"It’s a place you never forget," he said. "I got to play my first NHL game in that city, so it’s a huge day."
NOTES: Montreal forward Torrey Mitchell left in the third period with a undisclosed injury. … The Canadiens put Paul Byron in the lineup and scratched right wing Alexander Semin.