MONTREAL (AP)Evgeny Svechnikov scored a tiebreaking goal midway through the third period, and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Monday night.
Morgan Barron had a goal and an assist and Paul Stastny also scored for Winnipeg. Adam Lowry added an empty-net goal, and Dylan Samberg had two assists. Starting back-to-back games, Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves.
Jets interim coach Dave Lowry’s reasoning for Hellebuyck’s consecutive starts was simple.
”We’re still fighting for every game. We’re in desperation mode right now,” Lowry said. ”It would be no different if we were in a playoff series and we were going back-to-back. That was the conversation, we had an understanding that we have to win every game here and just take care of business each and every night”
With the win, the Jets (35-28-11) are five points away from the Dallas Stars and the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. However, the Stars have two games in hand on the Jets.
Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey said players know what they’re up against, but added that there’s no sense of panic in the locker room.
”I don’t think you can really afford to talk about that,” Morrissey said. ”I mean, we’re just trying to win games, get two points, one point, whatever we can do. (We) hope to get some help from other teams, but I don’t think we really talk about anything bigger than the next game.
”You can’t really look too far in the future. We know where we’re at.”
Josh Anderson scored his 100th career goal for Montreal, and Joel Armia added a goal against his former team. Samuel Montembeault kept the Canadiens in the game with 31 saves, including 15 in the second period.
”I liked our group today, nothing seemed to bother us,” Lowry said. ”When we did give up a goal, we went right back out the next shift and we were able to continue to generate, to continue to get the momentum back.”
After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens got on the board 29 seconds into the second. Armia backhanded the puck out of mid-air and past Hellebuyck for his sixth goal of the season
Winnipeg responded when Nikolaj Ehlers made a backward pass for Barron, who tied the score with a wrist shot.
The Jets scored the go-ahead goal 4:00 of the second period when Stastny scored on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle.
Anderson deflected Jeff Petry’s shot from the point to tie the game 2-2 at 6:19 of the third period.
The Jets drove the length of the ice and stars Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor combined with Svechnikov for what proved to be the winning goal. Lowry scored into an empty net to seal Winnipeg’s back-to-back road wins.
With Jake Allen’s eventual return from injury and Carey Price’s looming comeback, Montembeault hoped that Canadiens front office noticed his work ethic through a chaotic 2021-22 season.
”It was a bit of a weird year,” Montembeault said. ”I wasn’t seeing a lot of action, then I played almost every game, then back to not seeing action, then Jake gets injured. It’s been a rollercoaster this season but I worked hard on improving myself. I hope that the executives saw that and if I have a chance to stay in Montreal, that would be my first option.”
Winnipeg: Host the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday.
Montreal: At Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.
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