Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Mark Scheifele all scored twice, but the Montreal Canadiens depth overpowered the Winnipeg Jets as they won 7-4.
Connor Hellebuyck was pulled in his sixth straight start after allowing three goals on seven shots. Michael Hutchinson didn’t fare better, allowing four more goals on 23 shots. Scheifele scored twice to take over the team lead in points, while Nikolaj Ehlers extended his point streak to six games with an assist. Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault added the other two goals.
The Canadiens didn’t act like they were missing multiple key players to injury. With Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher out, the Canadiens found scoring in their depth. Danault and Lehkonen both potted a pair of goals, Sven Andrighetto and Brian Flynn each had two points, and Tomas Plekanec added another goal. Al Montoya made the start in net, finishing with 23 saves on a fairly easy night.
Once again #NHLJets can't get over .500. Sixth straight loss in a game after getting back to .500
— Ted Wyman (@Ted_Wyman) January 12, 2017
The Canadiens scored 57 seconds into the game when Max Pacioretty shot a puck towards the net. It deflected and Hellebuyck made a tricky first save. Adam Lowry couldn’t clear it and the puck ended up on Danault’s stick, who roofed it over Hellebuyck.
They scored again just over three minutes later when Andrighetto sent a cross-ice pass to Flynn, who was flying into the zone. His shot handcuffed Hellebuyck and the puck rolled into the net.
The Jets made it a one-goal game two minutes later when Scheifele stripped the puck and sent it to Drew Stafford, who held the puck long enough to draw Montoya towards him. Stafford passed it back out to Scheifele, who scored into the wide open net.
Perreault evened the game off a pass from Blake Wheeler that bounced into his skates but was able to pick up and put it past Montoya.
The tie didn’t last long, as Plekanec walked into a loose puck in the slot and blew it past Hellebuyck for his fifth of the season.
Just like the first period, the Canadiens jumped on the Jets in the second. Flynn turned off the half-boards and fired a puck towards the net. It went wide but deflected off a player and right to the stick of a wide open Andrighetto, who scored his first goal of the season.
The Jets defense broke down for a shift, as Danault took the puck from one of the ice to the other. He skated right past Dustin Byfuglien and right into the slot, where he roofed a shot past Hutchinson, who had started sliding the wrong way.
Scheifele answered back on the power play. Ehlers held the puck in the corner before skating out to the side of the net and then backhanding a perfect pass onto the stick of Scheifele, who went upstairs on Montoya for the Jets first goal of the period. That goal came on their first shot of the period as well.
Just over four minutes into the third, the Canadiens gained zone entry and got it deep before firing it back up to Weber. Weber wristed an easy shot into the slot before having it tipped by Lehkonen for his first of the game.
Lehkonen added a second goal five minutes later. On the power play, Weber passed it to Beaulieu who fired a one-timer at the net. The save was made, but the rebound was available. Lehkonen boxed out Tobias Enstrom before batting the rebound home and putting the game out of reach for the Jets.
Winnipeg scored a minute later, though, trying anything they could to answer back. As the Canadiens exited the zone, Little knocked the puck off the stick of Ryan Johnston and onto the stick on Stafford, who dropped it back to Little and he went between the legs of Montoya to pull the Jets within three, which is as close as they ever got.
MTL – Phillip Danault (8) assisted by Alexander Radulov (22) and Max Pacioretty (16)
MTL – Brian Flynn (5) assisted by Sven Andrighetto (3) and Nathan Beaulieu (13)
WPG – Mark Scheifele (18) assisted by Drew Stafford (6)
WPG – Mathieu Perreault (4) assisted by Blake Wheeler (22) and Bryan Little (9)
MTL – Tomas Plekanec (5) assisted by Artturi Lehkonen (4)
MTL – Sven Andrighetto (1) assisted by Brian Flynn (4) and Torrey Mitchell (7)
MTL – Phillip Danault (9) unassisted
WPG – Mark Scheifele (19) (PPG) assisted by Nikolaj Ehlers (24) and Nic Petan (9)
MTL – Artturi Lehkonen (9) assisted by Shea Weber (17) and Paul Byron (9)
MTL – Artturi Lehkonen (10) (PPG) assisted by Nathan Beaulieu (14) and Shea Weber (18)
WPG – Bryan Little (7) assisted by Drew Stafford (7)
THW Three Stars
First: Artturi Lehkonen (2 goals, 1 assist)
Second: Phillip Danault (2 goals)
Third: Mark Scheifele (2 goals)
Winnipeg Jets vs Arizona Coyotes
Gila River Arena – 8:00 p.m. CST on Friday, January 13
Broadcast Channels: TSN3
2016-17 Season Series: Nov 10 – Winnipeg (3) vs Arizona (2)
Montreal Canadiens vs Minnesota Wild
Xcel Energy Center – 8:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 12
Broadcast Channels: NBCSN, RDS, SNE
2016-17 Season Series: Dec 22 – Minnesota (4) vs Montreal (2)
Judson Rempel was born and raised in the Great White North, skating on ponds and watching hockey every Saturday night in small town Manitoba. When he’s not watching hockey, he’s playing hockey with his son and daughter, and trying to convince his wife to let him watch more hockey.