By Matt Carlson, The Associated Press on December 22, 2023.
CHICAGO (AP) – Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki and David Savard each had a goal and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Friday night.
Mitchell Stephens and Josh Anderson also scored for Montreal, which trailed 2-0 early in the second period. Cayden Primeau made 19 saves.
With their second win over the Blackhawks this season, the Canadiens roll into the NHL’s Christmas break with points in five straight games (3-0-2).
Stephens started Montreal’s comeback with his first goal since March 3, 2020, for Tampa Bay against Boston. Anderson and Slafkovsky scored 2:31 apart late in the middle frame to put the Canadiens ahead.
Savard added an empty-netter with 1:56 left.
Ryan Donato scored for a second straight game and Jason Dickinson fired in a career-high 10th goal, but the last-place Blackhawks once again failed to protect a lead.
NHL rookie scoring leader Connor Bedard set up Donato’s goal for his fifth assist in his last three games. Petr Mrazek made 23 saves in his third straight start.
Sam Montembeault, who made 20 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss at Minnesota on Thursday, backed up Primeau. Jake Allen, reportedly on the trading block, was the healthy scratch in Montreal’s goalie trio.
Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell, playing in just his second game since hernia surgery in March, set up Dickinson’s goal with a spinning play in the slot and hit the post on a short-handed breakaway in the first period.
The Blackhawks were buoyed by the return of defencemen Kevin Korchinski and Jarred Tinordi.
It was the first game for the 19-year-old Korchinski since Dec. 7. His father Larry died and the rookie was away from the team to spend time with his family.
The rugged 31-year-old Tinordi was activated from injured reserve after missing six games with a concussion. In a corresponding move, Chicago assigned defencemen Wyatt Kaiser and Filip Roos to Rockford of the AHL.
Chicago remained without defencemen Seth Jones and rookie Alex Vlasic. Both have shoulder injuries.
Donato opened the scoring with 3:04 left in the first. Bedard twisted away from coverage on the left boards and passed in the slot to Donato, who wristed a shot under Primeau’s glove.
Set up by Blackwell, a trailing Dickinson rifled in a shot 3:43 into the second give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Stephens responded 43 seconds later from the edge of the crease, tipping in Mike Matheson’s shot from the right point.
Anderson tied it with 4:58 left in the second. He cruised down the crease unscathed and took a feed from Sean Monahan as the Blackhawks’ coverage got crossed up.
Slafkovsky put the Canadiens ahead 3-2 with his second goal in two games. He twisted away from defenceman Isaak Phillips at the edge of the crease and tucked in a loose rebound.
Canadiens: At Carolina on Thursday.
Blackhawks: At St. Louis on Saturday.
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