WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Phillip Danault’s coast-to-coast goal impressed his Montreal Canadiens teammates.
Danault went the distance down the ice, untouched on the way to his second goal in Montreal’s 7-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets.
”I didn’t see the beginning how it started, but I only saw the halfway,” said Canadiens rookie Artturi Lehkonen, who also scored twice and added an assist. ”It looked like he had no trouble at all. He was just flying through the neutral zone and somebody was saying, `It’s that young Mario Lemieux.'”
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Danault’s unassisted goal on the high glove side of Michael Hutchinson at 4:31 of the second period gave Montreal the 5-2 lead.
Danault couldn’t recall when, or if, he’s ever scored an end-to-end goal at any level.
”My first one in the AHL against Buffalo was good, too, but one coast-to-coast like that, I don’t think I’ve (done that),” he said. ”Maybe juniors, back in the day.”
Montreal coach Michel Therrien viewed the goal by the 23-year-old Danault as a rare feat.
”You don’t see those types of goals very often in the NHL,” he said. ”For the young kid, it’s good for his confidence. He’s playing really well.”
Al Montoya, playing against his former team, made 22 saves for the Canadiens and has won three straight starts.
Connor Hellebuyck allowed three goals on seven shots in his sixth straight start before being replaced by Hutchinson late in the first period. He stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced.
”We were (bad) from the start, from the drop of that first puck right to the very end,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
The game won’t be quickly forgotten, he vowed.
”We aren’t sweeping this one under the rug,” Maurice said. ”We’re going to take a good look at all of it and make sure we appreciate the value of playing in the National Hockey League and playing a game at home and the cost every NHL game demands, the willingness to pay that price.”
Danault and Brian Flynn gave Montreal a 2-0 lead four minutes into the game on the team’s second and third shots. Tomas Plekanec and Sven Andrighetto, with his first of the season, also had goals for the Canadiens. Shea Weber had a pair of assists, while Andrighetto and Flynn each added an assist.
Mark Scheifele scored twice, Mathieu Perreault had a goal and assist and Bryan Little tallied his seventh of the season for Winnipeg. Drew Stafford picked up a pair of assists.
Danault opened the scoring just 57 seconds into the first period after the Jets lost a rebound, and Flynn made it 2-0 at 4:19.
Scheifele recorded his 18th goal of the season at 6:07, and the Jets tied it at 2 at 12:58 with Blake Wheeler’s patient pass to Perreault as he was skating to the front of net.
Montreal regained the lead 1:03 later when Plekanec took advantage of a loose puck behind the Jets’ net and quickly fired a shot into the corner of the net at 14:01 – ending Hellebuyck’s night.
The Canadiens built a 5-2 lead early in the second period.
Winnipeg again lost the puck behind its net and Andrighetto tapped in a pass from Flynn at the 53-second mark.
Danault then skated down the entire length of the ice with the puck and scored his ninth goal of the season for the 5-2 lead at 4:31.
After Maurice called a timeout, Scheifele scored a power-play goal at 5:06 while the Canadiens’ Torrey Mitchell was in the penalty box for delay of game.
Nikolaj Ehlers assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to six games with five goals and three assists.
Lehkonen tipped a goal through traffic at 4:10 of the third and then scored 11 seconds into a power play for the 7-3 margin at 9:05.
Little finished the scoring at 10:04 with a shot through Montoya’s pads.
”Every time we came back, it just seemed like it was going in the net,” Wheeler said. ”We just didn’t do a good enough job picking up our guys and gave up a little too much.”
Canadiens: travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Thursday night.
Jets: start a three-game road trip starting Friday in Arizona.