Kirby Dach scored two goals and the Montreal Canadiens earned a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday at Bell Centre.
Nick Suzuki, Arber Xhekaj and Dach gave Montreal (7-6-1) a three-goal lead in the first period. Mike Hoffman also scored, for his third goal in two nights.
Samuel Montembeault made 30 saves for the win.
Luke Schenn and Nils Hoglander replied for Vancouver (4-7-3) in a third period comeback attempt.
Thatcher Demko had a difficult night in the Canucks’ net, stopping 22 shots.
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The Canadiens scored on the power play just 55 seconds into the game. Suzuki took a shot from the point and instantly made the Canucks, who have the league-worst penalty killing efficiency, pay for Tanner Pearson’s hooking penalty.
Montreal doubled their lead with another shot from the point as Xhekaj scored his second of the season when his wrister deflected off Pearson and into the net.
Dach added a third Canadiens goal when he stole the puck away from J.T. Miller in Vancouver’s zone and beat Demko, giving Montreal a comfortable 3-0 lead by the first intermission.
Hoffman gave the Canadiens a four-goal lead in the second period. He outpaced Jack Rathbone and gave himself enough space to beat Demko with a wrister. Hoffman also had a pair of goals in Montreal’s 3-2 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
Vancouver finally got on the scoreboard at 4:46 of the third. Schenn’s slap shot from the point whizzed through traffic and beat Montembeault.
Hoglander cut the Canucks’ deficit to two goals by hopping on Montembeault’s rebound and putting away his first goal of the season.
Vancouver found themselves on the power play shortly after Hoglander’s goal and dinged two shots off the post.
Dach iced the game when Suzuki found him all alone with a cross-ice pass. The 22-year-old took home his second of the night with a wrist shot.
HORVAT STREAK END
Bo Horvat’s hot streak came to an end in Montreal. Horvat recorded at least one point in his last five games and six goals in his last four. In total the centre picked up eight goals and two assists during that streak.
SUZUKI ON A ROLL
Nick Suzuki scored his sixth goal since Oct. 29, trailing only Buffalo Sabres centre Tage Thompson with seven in that span. Suzuki has now tied Brendan Gallagher for second most in Canadiens’ history with a third opening-minute goal. Only Max Pacioretty (five) has more in franchise history.
The Canadiens will continue their three-game home stand by taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. The Canucks will travel to Toronto to visit the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
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