VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Back indoors, the Montreal Canadiens got back on track.
Nicolas Deslauriers had the first two-goal game of his career, Carey Price made 34 saves and the Canadiens beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-5 on Tuesday night.
Montreal traveled to the West Coast after losing 3-0 outdoors to Ottawa on Saturday in the frigid NHL 100 Classic.
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”It felt like in practice yesterday and this morning we were sucking dirty pond water when we were breathing,” said Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, who had two assists. ”It was good to get back (and play inside).”
Jeff Petry, Daniel Carr and Philip Danault each added a goal and an assist for Montreal. Paul Byron and Alex Galchenyuk also scored.
The fourth line of Deslauriers, Carr and Byron Froese combined for five points as 14 players hit the score sheet for Montreal.
”I’m not here for my points,” Deslauriers said. ”But if I can contribute like this and take some pressure off our top line, it means a lot.”
Montreal entered 1-3-1 over its previous five following a five-game winning streak that coincided with Price’s return from a lower-body injury.
”It wasn’t the ideal way to win,” Petry said. ”What I liked is when they capitalized and scored it seemed like we pushed back quickly.”
Thomas Vanek had three goals and an assist for Vancouver, while Daniel Sedin and Brock Boeser each added a goal and an assist. Anders Nilsson stopped 25 shots, and Henrik Sedin chipped in with two assists.
”There’s nothing sweet about it,” Vanek said after his 10th career hat trick. ”We’re really struggling right now.”
The Canucks have dropped six of their last seven in regulation by a combined 36-14 score. But they insisted Tuesday’s game was an improvement over Sunday’s 6-1 home loss to Calgary.
”Tonight was a lot better,” Vanek said. ”It was a step in the right direction.”
Vancouver coach Travis Green agreed with that assessment.
”Had almost 40 shots, scored five goals on a pretty good goalie, played a lot more aggressive. Our compete level was a lot higher,” he said.
With the score tied 3-all in a wild second period, Petry gave Montreal the lead for good with 46.1 seconds left when his shot from the point on the power play beat Nilsson cleanly through a screen.
That came three seconds after Vancouver’s Alex Biega was whistled for cross checking – a call that left Green fuming.
Byron made it 5-3 at 1:37 of the third after getting a second chance on a nifty behind-the-back feed from Pacioretty for his 10th.
”You’re not going hear our goalies sit there and say they’re playing their best hockey of the year,” Green said. ”But if you’re trying to get me to throw blame on our goalies, I’m not going to do that.”
Boeser ripped his 18th past Price’s glove to make it 5-4, but Galchenyuk restored the two-goal lead with his eighth.
Vanek and Danault exchanged goals in the final 1:01, with Danault scoring into an empty net.
”There’s games that’s going to be 2-1, there’s games that are going to be like that,” Deslauriers said. ”You want to keep the scoring tight, but we responded well after every goal.”
The injury-riddled Canucks got some good news before the game with Boeser’s surprise return to the lineup after leaving Sunday’s loss. The 20-year-old sniper, who entered Tuesday leading both his team and all NHL rookies in scoring, crawled to the bench in agony against the Flames, but tests Monday revealed only a bone bruise.
NOTES: Vancouver also got defenseman Erik Gudbranson (upper body) back after he missed 12 games, but the club is still minus two-thirds of its top line with Bo Horvat (foot) and Sven Baertschi (jaw) out, while defenseman Christopher Tanev (groin) and center Brandon Sutter (upper body) remain on the shelf. … Montreal was without Shea Weber because of a foot injury that is being re-evaluated. The Canadiens were 4-2-1 over a seven-game stretch minus their star defenseman last month while he was dealing with the same issue.