The Montreal Canadiens experienced a two-game hiccup, but found themselves adding to their NHL-best win total with another high-scoring performance.
The offense needs to keep it up with the team’s star goaltender out at least a week.
The Canadiens will be without Carey Price because of a lower-body injury starting Sunday night against the Winnipeg Jets, who have been one of the league’s best road teams.
Price was scratched early Sunday with an injury that coach Michel Therrien said he suffered in Thursday’s 4-3 loss at Edmonton. The reigning MVP and Vezina Trophy winner, who is 7-2 with a 2.01 goals-against average, wasted a 3-0 lead in the loss.
Rookie Mike Condon will make a second consecutive start, and Dustin Tokarski was recalled from St. John’s of the AHL to serve as backup.
"He has a lot of pressure on him, but he’s been flawless in every start so far," Therrien said of Condon, who is 3-0 with a 1.67 GAA and a .944 save percentage.
Montreal (10-2-0) had its season-opening nine-game win streak snapped with a 5-1 loss to Vancouver before the Oilers loss, but got back on track with a 6-2 win in Calgary on Friday. The Canadiens are averaging 3.8 goals, trailing only Boston (3.9), with 22 over their last five – a span in which they’ve scored six times on 14 power-play chances.
They became the first club to 10 wins Friday, and Dale Weise recorded his first career hat trick to push his season goal total to six. He’s already four shy of his career high set last season, and he has 30 shots after averaging 1.2 per game last season.
"We needed a win, and a lot of guys chipped in. It was amazing," Weise told the team’s official website. "That’s what we need going to forward to be successful. That’s why we won nine in a row to start the year, with contributions from everybody."
Price was given what was thought to be a breather after giving up all nine goals in the back-to-back losses, and Condon filled in nicely with 30 saves.
The Jets (7-3-1) have won three of four and started off in better fashion for at least one game in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Columbus.
All three of their goals came in the first period after they had been outscored 7-6 in the first 20 minutes of their previous 10 games. Winnipeg had given up the first goal eight times in those contests, but has been able to win a league-high five of those.
"It does seem like we’ve had some slow starts lately," said Bryan Little, who had a goal and an assist along with Blake Wheeler. "That’s something we talked about before the game. Coming out hard and kind of setting the tone for the game."
Winnipeg is 4-1-0 on the road, scoring five power-play goals on 15 opportunities. Montreal has outscored opponents 15-4 in winning all four at home, where it plays seven of its next eight after an early road-heavy schedule.
The Canadiens also began last season with four consecutive home wins but haven’t opened 5-0-0 there since a 6-0-0 start in 1979-80.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 19 shots Saturday for the Jets, potentially setting backup Michael Hutchinson up for his fifth start. Hutchinson, who has never faced the Canadiens, is 4-0-0 with a 1.75 GAA this season.
Montreal had won nine of 10 in the series before dropping two of three.
Little has only two points in his last 14 against the Canadiens.