April 24th, 2024

Montembeault makes 27 saves, Canadiens win 2-1 to snap Avalanche’s 9-game win streak

By Michael Kelly, The Associated Press on March 26, 2024.

DENVER (AP) – Sam Montembeault made 27 saves and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Tuesday night in coach Martin St. Louis’ return to the team.

Nick Suzuki and Joel Armia scored for the Canadiens, who snapped Colorado’s nine-game win streak. They won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 15-17 and swept the two-game season series from the Avalanche.

“We raise our game against good competition,” Suzuki said. “It really forces guys to be dialed in. If we’re not dialed in they’re going to pick us apart.”

St. Louis was behind the Montreal bench after missing four games to be with his family. His 16-year-old son, Mason, got hurt during a youth hockey game and then suffered complications from the injury and was hospitalized.

The Canadiens went 1-2-1 with assistant Trevor Letowski handling the head-coaching duties.

“We were trying to do the job while he was away and he definitely gave us a bit of energy coming back,” Suzuki said. “He’s been through a lot over the last 10 days and he was excited to come back. Everything’s good at home and he’s happy to be back with the guys.”

Nathan MacKinnon scored for Colorado to extend his point streak to 19 games. He is the first player in NHL history to have multiple point streaks of 19 or more games in a season, according to the Avalanche. He has at least one point in all 35 home games this season, second all-time behind Wayne Gretzky’s 40-game streak for the Los Angeles Kings in 1988-89.

MacKinnon’s 123 points are tied with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov for the NHL lead.

Justus Annunen made 25 saves hours after signing a two-year extension that will keep him under contract with Colorado through the 2025-26 season.

“It’s awesome,” Annunen said. “I want to play here and I got that opportunity so I need to earn my spot here every day.”

MacKinnon scored his 45th goal of the season 43 seconds into the game. Montreal tied it nine seconds later when Suzuki got his 29th.

Armia gave the Canadiens the lead when he jammed the puck inside the left post at 14:53 of the first for his 12th goal of the season, and they were able to hold on for the final two periods.

“They blocked a lot of shots and their goalie played well,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “He didn’t give up any rebounds.”

Colorado pulled Annunen in the final minute but couldn’t score the equalizer.

“It’s another lesson,” Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar said. “Teams we play now are going to be playoff teams and every team is going to try and outwork us. We have to be able to show up every night, and overall I felt like we didn’t simplify our game plan enough tonight.”

UP NEXT

Canadiens: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Avalanche: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

___

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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