Two teams playing the second game of back-to-backs meet Sunday night when the Vancouver Canucks visit the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canucks saw their five-game winning streak snapped in a 5-2 loss at Toronto on Saturday. The Canadiens, in turn, opened a four-game homestand with a 3-2 overtime upset of the Boston Bruins.
Defenseman Kaiden Guhle, who also had an assist, scored on a rebound at 2:13 of overtime to give Montreal its first win against Boston in 11 games dating back to Nov. 5, 2019.
Captain Nick Suzuki and Brendan Gallagher scored 27 seconds apart in the third period for the Canadiens, who have won two straight after a four-game losing streak. Sam Montembeault made 26 saves.
“They’re a good hockey team and they played a good game, and I thought we went toe-to-toe with them and that both teams executed the game plan well,” Gallagher said. “But we understand that when we stick to our brand of hockey, we’re that hard to play against. We can play with anyone in this league, and I think it’s a big step for our group.”
Saturday’s win marked the Canadiens’ sixth victory in one-goal games this season.
“I thought we played a great 60 minutes,” said Suzuki, who scored in his fourth straight game. “We couldn’t score in the first two periods, but we just kept fighting and finding a way and a lot of big goals, and nice to win in overtime.”
Sunday’s likely starter in goal, Jake Allen, is 9-6-3 with a 2.72 goals-against average in his career versus Vancouver.
The Canucks had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 but couldn’t hold them as the Maple Leafs rallied for the win. Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov held the Canucks well below their season average of 4.54 goals per game.
J.T. Miller and Pius Suter scored early power-play goals, and Thatcher Demko made 17 saves for Vancouver, which is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games.
“I thought the last few games there’s pockets of the game where I think teams are outworking us,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “We’ve got to play desperate hockey too. You have to match the level of your opponent. Like I said, it’s 82 games. There’s some stinkers and sometimes you learn from a stinker.”
The Canucks failed to take advantage of a stretch of 3:37 in power-play time in the second period, including a 23-second 5-on-3, and finished 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
“The power play did a good job of getting momentum for us in the first and then it did the exact opposite for us after that,” Miller said. “From that point on, they seemed to take over the game just a little bit.”
Elias Pettersson (7 goals, 18 assists) assisted on Miller’s goal to extend his point streak to eight games and became the first NHL player to reach the 25-point mark this season.
Canucks defenseman Filip Hronek had an assist to extend his point streak to nine games (0 goals, 12 assists).
Goalie Casey DeSmith is 1-2-2 with a 2.74 GAA in his career against the Canadiens.
The teams are meeting for the first time this season.
–Field Level Media
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