Jets beat Habs 3-1 to spoil Claude Julien's return to Montreal bench
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes a save against Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, February 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, February 18, 2017 5:06PM CST
MONTREAL -- Mathieu Perreault scored in the third period and Patrik Laine added an empty-netter as the visiting Winnipeg Jets defeated the Canadiens 3-1 on Saturday afternoon to spoil coach Claude Julien's return to the Montreal bench.
Joel Armia had the other goal for the Jets (27-29-5) and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 19 of 20 shots. Andrei Markov scored for Montreal (31-20-8), while Carey Price made 31 saves.
Perreault broke a 1-1 deadlock just 1:16 into the final frame. He sent a backhand shot over Price's shoulder after a nifty one-handed pass from Dustin Byfuglien.
Laine added the insurance goal at 18:43. The Canadiens have only one victory in their last eight games.
Montreal was sloppy in its first game back following its bye week and it cost the home side on Winnipeg's first goal.
With the Canadiens on the power play in the second period, defenceman Nathan Beaulieu skated out of his own zone, then tried to dangle the puck around Armia in the neutral zone.
The Jets winger easily stole the puck, skated in on Price and scored Winnipeg's sixth short-handed goal of the season to tie the game at 4:52. Montreal had 18 giveaways in the game.
In one of his first coaching decisions since replacing Michel Therrien on Tuesday, Julien put Alex Galchenyuk on the first line with Alexander Radulov and captain Max Pacioretty.
That move paid instant dividends on Montreal's first goal on a rarely seen pinch by defenceman Markov.
The Russian's forecheck on Blake Wheeler forced a giveaway in Winnipeg's zone, with the puck falling right to Galchenyuk. The centreman then found Pacioretty, who gave it back to Markov in the crease for the easy tap-in at 11:04 of the first period.
Pacioretty has seven points in his last four games.
Price did his best to keep rookie Laine off the scoresheet, stopping all six shots he faced from the 18-year-old. But with Price on the bench and Montreal's net empty, Laine scored his fifth goal in his last three games.
Michael McCarron, recalled from the St. John's IceCaps on Friday, centred the fourth line for Montreal. Davis Desharnais and Sven Andrighetto were healthy scratches.