VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — – The Montreal Canadiens are ending a western road swing with a renewed sense of confidence.
Jonathan Drouin scored a power-play goal with less than three minutes remaining to lead the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Drouin scored just seconds after Vancouver defenseman Michael Del Zotto was whistled for interference.
Tomas Tatar and Andrew Shaw also scored for the Canadiens.
Montreal has struggled to capitalize on the man-advantage this season. The team’s power play was ranked next-to-last entering Saturday’s game.
“When that confidence isn’t quite there, you are still trying to fight to get the rhythm of your power play going,” said Montreal’s head coach, Claude Julien. “But that goal tonight couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Drouin said his goal on Saturday was reminiscent of how the team had played earlier in the week, when it beat Calgary 3-2.
“It brings back some of that Calgary game a little bit, where you are down a goal on the road and you have to show character, you’ve got to find a way to put the puck in,” the 23-year-old center said.
“If you look at our tying goals they’re not pretty, they’re just around the net and that’s something we can build on.”
Del Zotto and Elias Pettersson scored for Vancouver, which has lost its last five games.
Carey Price stopped 36 shots for Montreal, while Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves.
Despite a flurry of early chances, the game’s first goal didn’t come until midway through the second period.
Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry collected the puck in his own end and sent it up the ice to Tatar, who settled the bouncing puck and scored with a shot over Markstrom’s shoulder and into the net.
Tatar now has 17 points and six goals in his last six games.
Del Zotto evened the score with his first goal of the season with less than four minutes to go in the period, tapping the puck in from the side of the net.
Pettersson put the Canucks up midway through the third, sending a slap shot past Price on Vancouver’s fourth power play of the night.
The 20-year-old rookie has been an offensive juggernaut for Vancouver, tallying 18 points in his first 16 NHL games.
The Canucks couldn’t hang on to the lead for long, though.
Less than two minutes after Pettersson scored, the puck bounced off Shaw and into Vancouver’s net.
“You’re going to play well and you’re going to lose some games when you play well,” said Canucks coach Travis Green. ” And you’re going to find a way to win games when you don’t play well. And you hope you’re on the right end of those nights more often.”
NOTES: Max Domi was credited with an assist on Shaw’s goal, extending his scoring streak to 13 points in nine games. He leads Montreal with 24 points.
Vancouver: Hosts Winnipeg on Monday.
Montreal: Hosts the Washington Capitals on Monday.
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