MONTREAL — Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice and added an assist to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Canadiens on Sunday afternoon to sweep the season series with Montreal.
Vladislav Gavrikov and Gustav Nyquist, into the empty net, also scored for the Blue Jackets (28-16-9), who have not lost in regulation in eight consecutive games.
Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves and improved to 10-2-0 since replacing injured starter Joonas Korpisalo.
Tomas Tatar, Max Domi and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens (24-23-7), who remain eight points out of a playoff spot with 28 games left. Making his second start in as many days, Carey Price stopped 23-of-26 shots in defeat.
Both teams were playing the second game of a back-to-back series. Columbus lost 2-1 in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday while Price blanked the Florida Panthers 4-0 in Montreal.
The Jackets have beaten the Canadiens in four straight games, including all three meetings this season.
Building off their impressive shutout victory on Saturday, the Canadiens were strong out of the gate and jumped ahead to a 7-1 lead in shots, testing Merzlikins early.
But Gavrikov scored the opener for Columbus at 12:45, a wrist shot from the face-off dot for the defenceman’s fifth of the season. The play started when Dubois stole the puck from Ryan Poehling along the half wall.
Dubois went from passer to scorer in the second period when he beat Price on a long breakaway from his own blue line at 3:31. Weber’s aggressive pinch, and Tatar’s failure to track back, led to Montreal’s defensive breakdown.
Tatar made up for the mistake six minutes later when he got the Canadiens on the board. Tatar scored glove-side on Merzlikins, seconds after Nick Suzuki intercepted a Dubois pass in his own zone.
Tatar now has six straight 20-goal seasons. He also became the first Canadiens player since Brian Gionta to score 20 goals in his first two seasons with Montreal.
Dubois restored Columbus’ two-goal cushion with his 17th of the year on a backhand wraparound at 17:52 of the second after Price failed to freeze the puck.
An uneventful third period was capped off by a flurry of goals in the final five minutes.
The Canadiens made it 3-2 when Domi fired a shot past Merzlikins at 15:52, through traffic, for his first goal since Dec. 31.
Nyquist scored the empty-netter for Columbus with 1:53 remaining before Weber pulled one back for Montreal 52 seconds later on a slap shot from the point.
Tatar and Suzuki extended their point streaks to four games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2020.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press