MONTREAL — Jonathan Drouin had the first four-point game of his career as the Montreal Canadiens earned a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Drouin had two goals and two assists as Montreal extended its win streak to three.
Captain Shea Weber, Phillip Danault and Jesperi Kotkaniemi also scored for the Canadiens (31-18-6), who improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Carey Price earned his seventh consecutive victory with a 32-save effort.
Danault also had three assists for a four-point game while Kotkaniemi has scored in four consecutive matches.
Mark Scheifele and Brendan Lemieux scored for the Central division-leading Jets (34-17-3), who have lost two games in a row. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 48 shots in defeat.
Dustin Byfuglien was back in the Jets lineup after missing 15 straight games with a lower-body injury. The big defenceman was injured against Minnesota on Dec. 29 after colliding with Wild forward Luke Kunin.
The Canadiens played some of their best hockey of the season against one of the league’s strongest teams. Montreal outshot Winnipeg 53-34.
Montreal jumped ahead of the idle Boston Bruins into third place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre were treated to a fast-paced, end-to-end hockey game with quality scoring chances and even better goaltending at times.
Scheifele got the visitors on the board at 4:54 of the first period, scoring on a 2-on-1 with Kyle Connor following Ben Chiarot’s stretch pass.
From his knees behind Hellebuyck’s net, Brendan Gallagher fed Drouin in the slot for his first of the encounter at 7:51. Gallagher’s pass went through the legs of Byfuglien, who fanned on the clearance.
Hellebuyck did his part to keep the Jets in the game, at one point stopping a flurry of six shots — three on Drouin and another three on Weber — in a 37-second span midway through the first.
Drouin made it 2-1 just 43 seconds into the second period when Chiarot’s dump-in bounced off the Canadiens winger and trickled towards Winnipeg’s goal. Drouin carried the puck across the blue line, walked in alone on Hellebuyck and scored top shelf for his third consecutive multi-point game.
Drouin has nine points in his last three games.
Weber gave the home team a two-goal lead at 4:02 with a slapshot from the point on Montreal’s 39th shot on goal before Danault sealed it with a 4-on-4 goal at 11:22 for his 11th of the season.
Kotkaniemi made it 5-1, on the power play, at 14:05.
Lemieux got one back for the visitors with 50 seconds left to play.
Notes: Tomas Tatar was back in Montreal’s lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with the flu. … Paul Byron (arm) and Andrew Shaw (neck) are both still day-to-day.
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press