MONTREAL — Jonathan Drouin scored the shootout winner to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar scored in the third period for the Canadiens (10-5-3), who were down 1-0 after two. Carey Price stopped 33-of-35 shots.
Eric Robinson and Zach Werenski scored in regulation for Columbus (6-8-4). Backup goalie Elvis Merzlikins was recalled from the AHL on Monday and made 30 saves.
A frenetic final two minutes of the third period saw Columbus take a 2-1 lead only for Montreal to score the equalizer right after.
Werenski put the visitors ahead with 1:51 left in the game on a beautiful shot into the top corner of the net.
Moments after the Blue Jackets narrowly missed the empty net, Montreal took advantage of the extra skater when Nick Suzuki found Tatar open at the side of the goal with 41 seconds on the clock.
After Columbus failed to take advantage of a power play in overtime, Drouin scored the shootout’s only goal while Price stopped all three Columbus shooters.
The Canadiens have now won six of their last eight games (6-1-1).
It was an electric goaltender battle on full display early on.
Price made three quick saves on a Columbus power play in the first period, including hard shots from Emil Bemstrom and Josh Anderson in the slot.
Merzlikins was also in fine form in the first, making a reaction save on Gallagher’s redirection of Jeff Petry’s shot from the point.
The Blue Jackets rewarded their goalie with a lead just a few minutes later.
Robinson, making his season debut for Columbus, beat Price with a shot between the pads at 16:46 for his first NHL goal. Price could not handle the initial shot from Werenski from the blue line.
The Canadiens fired 14 shots on target, none too dangerous, in a dull second period.
As good as Merzlikins was after 40 minutes, the Blue Jackets netminder gifted the equalizer to Montreal early in the third period.
Gallagher scored his team-leading eighth of the season at 3:27 with a fairly harmless shot from distance that went five-hole on Merzlikins.
The 25-year-old goalie, who began his career in the Swiss league, came into the encounter with an .882 save percentage after four games.
With an assist on Gallagher’s goal, Weber extended his point streak to four games.
The Jackets finished 0 for 3 with the man advantage. … Nick Foligno was serving the first of a three-game suspension. … This was the first of three meetings between Montreal and Columbus this year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2019.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press