MONTREAL (AP)The Montreal Canadiens scored three goals in the third period to earn a 4-0 win over Western Conference bottom-dwellers Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
Joel Armia scored one goal and added an assist, while Jonathan Drouin collected three assists. Justin Barron, David Savard and Christian Dvorak also scored as the Canadiens won a third straight game since returning from the NHL All-Star break.
”It wasn’t a pretty one for us, but we found a way to win,” Dvorak said. ”We had a really good third period which was nice but now we really want to finish off this homestand the right way and go on the road on a little win streak here.”
Jake Allen made 22 saves to bank his first shutout of the season.
”It can sometimes be a bit of a letdown game when you have two really big wins, then a day off and then come back to that third one,” Allen said. ”Sometimes it can be tough to get back up after such an emotional couple of wins so I’m just glad we did.”
Jaxson Stauber made 27 saves as Chicago started a four-game Canadian road trip with back-to-back losses. After three straight wins to start his NHL career, the Canadiens handed the 23-year-old native of Wayzata, Minnesota, his first loss.
”We were real sloppy in the first period,” said Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson. ”We just didn’t play a good, solid game and I think they found their game before us and then it became tough.
”I mentioned a few times this year, when we play well we’re really connected together and today we just seem disconnected.”
The Canadiens drew first blood on the power play at 8:38 of the opening period. Barron’s wrist shot from the point deflected off Chicago defenseman Jack Johnson and past Stauber.
Chicago was inches away from tying the game when Andreas Athanasiou freed himself on a breakaway. Allen saved Athanasiou’s shot but the forward’s skate pushed the puck toward the goal line. The Habs goaltender knocked the net loose with his skate before the puck crossed the line.
Drouin connected with Armia on a cross-ice pass giving Montreal a two-goal lead at 5:45 of the final period. Stauber was shaken up after a collision on the play but remained in the game.
The Canadiens sealed the win midway through the third period with two goals in less than a minute.
Ukraine Team Select, a hockey team consisting of 11- and 12-year-old refugees displaced by war in their home country, attended the game. The Ukrainian players sat on the Canadiens bench to take in the pre-game warmups and received fist bumps and pucks from players as they prepared for the game.
The Canadiens presented a welcome video in the first period highlighting their path in the Quebec Peewee Tournament. The team received an ovation from the Bell Center crowd.
Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi left for the locker room at 5:40 of the first period. The Blackhawks announced during the second period that he would not return to the game.
Before the game, the Montreal Canadiens announced that defenseman Arber Xhekaj would be out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. The undrafted rookie suffered the injury during a fight with Edmonton Oilers blue liner Vincent Desharnais during Montreal’s 6-2 win over the Oilers last Sunday.
Blackhawks: Play at Toronto on Wednesday night.
Canadiens: Start a four-game road trip at Carolina on Thursday night.
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