MONTREAL (AP)Nick Suzuki scored his fourth goal in five games to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Thursday night.
Suzuki gave Montreal the lead with a power-play goal midway through the third period, and Jake Evans iced it with an empty-netter. Brendan Gallagher and Ben Chiarot also scored for the Canadiens, and Jake Allen made 24 saves.
On the winner, Suzuki fooled goalie Jacob Markstrom by shooting from behind the net. The puck hit the goalie’s skate and crossed the line.
”We can see (he’s) in a great run after going through a slow start,” Montreal coach Dominque Ducharme said. ”He doesn’t need to be more intelligent than the game. ”I think he handled himself well tonight, he holds the team’s success at heart and he wants to make a difference.”
With nine points in his last five games, Suzuki has carried the Canadiens of late.
”His role this season was to be the No. 1 center and it started slow but he’s playing extremely well lately,” defenseman David Savard said. ”He’s the reason we were successful tonight. He’s one of the players we notice a lot on the ice and he’s hard to play against.”
Mikael Backlund and Andrew Mangiapane had first-period goals for the Flames in the opener of a six-game trip.
”We’re a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year and we’re trying to stay in the race, that’s the key,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. ”Every night is a tough game and we’re not a team that will score a lot so we’ll need to do a lot of grinding and banging away. I think we did a lot more of that tonight than we did in the last couple of games.”
Markstrom stopped 25 shots.
”We have a new game tomorrow so you can’t really dwell on it but tonight’s going to suck,” Markstrom said. ”We all wanted to get off on a good start.”
Flames: At Toronto on Friday night.
Canadiens: At Detroit on Saturday night.