WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Entering Monday, the Montreal Canadiens (13-8-7) started a critical 2-game series with the Winnipeg Jets (17-9-2). With 31 points on the year, they trailed both Winnipeg and Edmonton for 2nd with 36 points. Toronto sits on top of the West Division with 40 points. For Montreal, taking two games would pull them within a point of 2nd about halfway through the season.
In the matchup, they wrapped up the first game early by jumping out to a 3-1 lead, eventually defeating Winnipeg 4-2. Tyler Toffoli scored twice on the night; his unassisted goal at 19:13 in the second put the Canadiens up 3-1, and his empty netter iced the game. He had 3 total points as he assisted on the 2nd Canadiens goal.
In his 700th career game, goaltender Carey Price provided another stellar game. He saved 34 of 36 shots in the win. Also, Winnipeg’s 2 goals came on power-play opportunities. His steady presence helped hold off Winnipeg late.
Montreal now brings the season series with Winnipeg to 2-3. They will have a chance Wednesday, March 17, to even the series. With 33 points, they now sit just 3 points behind Winnipeg and Edmonton for 2nd in the West Division.
Canadiens Early Lead Proves to be Enough
Early on, Winnipeg seemed to have the advantage as they got the first 4 shots on goal. However, a Winnipeg turnover turned into a 3 on 1 opportunity for Montreal, and they made them pay. Diving, Jonathan Drouin made a great pass to Josh Anderson, who found Jesperi Kokaniemi for the breakaway goal.
In the second, penalties set up both teams for scoring opportunities. A hooking penalty to Neal Pionk gave Montreal a power play 4 minutes in, and they capitalized; Josh Anderson found the back of the net to make the lead 2 goals. However, a holding penalty gave Winnipeg the opportunity they needed, and they quickly delivered. About 30 seconds in, Kyle Connor skated right side and snapped a wrist shot past Carey Price to make the score 2-1.
Another turnover set up Toffoli for his first goal; he intercepted a pass in Winnipeg’s zone and beat the goalie to up the lead to 2 again. In the 3rd, another power play led to another Connor Goal for Winnipeg. However, they could not finish the comeback. With the net emptied, Toffoli iced the game with his 2nd goal of the game.
Montreal @ Winnipeg, Wednesday, March 17, Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB