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Mar 22, 2024 12:59 am

Nikita Zadorov tallies 2 as Canucks handle Canadiens

Canucks, Canadiens

Defenseman Nikita Zadorov scored two goals and the Vancouver Canucks won their second straight game in the midst of their longest homestand of the season, beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Thursday.

Western Conference-leading Vancouver (44-18-8, 96 points) got plenty of offense from depth players such as the unheralded Zadorov.

This was the fifth of nine games at home for the Canucks, who also got goals from Conor Garland and Nils Aman and two assists from Ilya Mikheyev.

Backup goaltender Casey DeSmith, who was filling in for the injured Thatcher Demko, stopped 16 shots for Vancouver. The Canadiens (25-32-12, 62 points) traded DeSmith to Vancouver in September.

Juraj Slafkovsky scored his 15th of the season and Sam Montembeault made 21 saves for the Canadiens, who lost their fourth consecutive game.

Montreal was without coach Martin St. Louis after he announced Saturday, at the start of this five-game Western road trip, that he was taking a leave of absence for family reasons. Assistant coach Trevor Letowski, a former Canucks player, spent his third game as acting head coach.

Russian rearguard Zadorov opened the scoring at 15:38 of the first with an even-strength goal on a long wrist shot from the point.

Zadorov scored his second goal with just 27 seconds left in the first to make it 2-0. He entered the Montreal zone as a trailer, banged his stick on the ice to alert Mikheyev and then beat Montembeault low to the glove side.

“I just closed my eyes and shot it pretty much,” Zadorov told Canadian broadcaster Sportsnet in between periods.

Garland put a shot off the post and in with 1:46 left in the second period to make it 3-0. He snuck behind the Montreal defense and took a pass from Teddy Blueger before snapping a shot just under the crossbar.

Less than a minute later, Canadiens forward Slafkovsky tipped in a shot from Cole Caufield to cut the Canucks’ lead to 3-1.

Aman scored on a deflection at 11:44 of the third to make it 4-1.

–Field Level Media

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