Brendan Gallagher's three-point game leads Canadiens past Ducks 4-1 - InfoNews

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Brendan Gallagher's three-point game leads Canadiens past Ducks 4-1

Montreal Canadiens' Phillip Danault scores past Anaheim Ducks goaltender Chad Johnson during third period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
February 05, 2019 - 8:37 PM

MONTREAL - Rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi is only 54 games into his NHL career but is already etching his name in the Montreal Canadiens' record book.

He became the first 18-year-old in franchise history to score in three consecutive games as Montreal downed the slumping Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Tuesday night.

The Finn's first-period goal was the winner as the Canadiens improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

"It's obviously special to do something like that in this kind of organization," said Kotkaniemi. "It's a good thing."

Kotkaniemi, the third-overall pick at last year's draft, has five goals in his last nine games. He's scored in every match since the Canadiens came back from their bye week.

"You can tell the break's been good to him," said winger Brendan Gallagher. "We forget that he's played a lot of hockey this year. He came here and did all the prospects stuff, then training camp. He's played a lot of games.

"We're going to need him going forward and he's come up with some big goals."

The Canadiens (30-18-6) were all over the Ducks (21-24-9) from the opening faceoff, scoring twice before the visitors even got their second shot on goal.

Gallagher got the first at 7:11 of the first period after sustained forecheck by Phillip Danault in Anaheim's zone led to a turnover by Josh Manson. The puck ended up on Gallagher's stick for his team-leading 20th of the season.

Kotkaniemi made it 2-0 less than three minutes later off a rebound.

Gallagher padded the lead with his second of the game at 16:39 on a one-timer from the slot past goalie Chad Johnson after a poorly timed line change by the Ducks.

"Our players did a great job in the first period," said coach Claude Julien. "We skated well and had them (the Ducks) on their heels. They're a fragile team right now. With the 3-0 lead we did some damage."

Anaheim has lost five games in a row. Randy Carlyle's men have conceded 19 goals in the past three games following a 9-3 loss in Winnipeg on Saturday and a 6-1 defeat in Toronto on Monday.

"We're saying all the right things in the room," said Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg. "You just have to leave it out there. And everyone has to take it upon themselves and look in the mirror.

"You can't just be here to participate. You have to make sure to play harder."

The Ducks were handed a lifeline in the second period when captain Ryan Getzlaf beat Carey Price on the wraparound at 11:27. Getzlaf leads the Ducks with 47 points this season.

But after taking their foot off the gas pedal in the second period, the Canadiens started the third with renewed vigour.

Danault restored the three-goal lead at 2:31 after a no-look pass by Jonathan Drouin behind the net fooled Johnson into looking the wrong way. Danault has eight points in his last nine games.

Drouin finished the game with three assists.

Price made 24 saves on 25 shots for his sixth straight victory — his longest personal win streak since the 2016-17 season. He's now six wins away from tying Jacques Plante for winningest goaltender in Canadiens history.

Johnson stopped 28-of-32 shots in defeat.

Notes: Price improved to 3-6-1 all-time against the Ducks. … Montreal finished 0 for 3 on the power play.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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