Goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 39 shots -- including 17 in the
third period -- to help the Blackhawks to their ninth straight win
and, at the same time, make coach Joel Quenneville into the
second-winningest coach in NHL history.
"It was a good win for us and Corey was spectacular tonight," said
Quenneville, who moved past legendary bench boss Al Arbour with his
783rd career victory. "I liked the way we played throughout the
game. I feel very fortunate and honored to be in some great company
over the years. It happened fast and quick, but I feel very
Center Jonathan Toews and left winger Ryan Garbutt scored for
Chicago (29-13-4), which moved into a tie with Dallas for first in
the Central Division and Western Conference.
Left winger Paul Byron connected for Montreal (23-18-3) and goalie
Mike Condon made 31 saves for the Canadiens, who are 6-13-1 in their
last 20 games. The Habs have scored at least three goals only three
times during that stretch.
"You've got to score goals to win games and we didn't score goals,"
left winger Max Pacioretty said. "A bit flat, not our best first
period. We played well in the second and third, very well in the
third. But this has happened before, lack of scoring. It's been a
big part of the last month and a half or so. We've got to find ways
to score goals."
Toews opened the scoring with his 17th of the season at 8:26 of the
first period. Defenseman Duncan Keith dished off to Andrew Shaw
along the left-wing boards. The left winger skated into the circle
and fired a shot from the dot that Condon saved, but Shaw picked up
the rebound and sent a tape-to-tape cross-crease pass to an
uncovered Toews to the right of the net.
Byron tied the game just over two minutes later. Center David
Desharnais picked up defenseman P.K. Subban's feed in the neutral
zone and skated it up the right side before tossing a backhand shot
from the hashmarks on Crawford. Byron used his speed to get behind
the Blackhawks' defense and drove to the net for a perfectly timed
Garbutt restored Chicago's lead at 12:56. Right winger Richard Panik
got the puck to defenseman Michal Rozsival at the top of the right
circle. His shot found its way to Garbutt inside the left circle,
and Garbutt fired quickly to beat Condon top shelf.
The Canadiens pressured in the second, holding Chicago off the shot
clock until six minutes in. Midway through the frame, Montreal
tossed four in succession on Crawford but couldn't get one by him.
[to top of second column]
"Grew up here, used to come watch games here," said Crawford, a
native of Chateauguay, Quebec, on Montreal's South Shore. "It's
still kind of surreal, stepping on the ice and actually playing a
game out there. I don't think that will change any time. It's fun to
have family and friends here watching."
Center Tomas Plekanec had one of the Canadiens' best chances to tie
the game in the second half of the period, only to miss a wide open
In the third period, Crawford was at the top of his game once again,
denying rookie winger Daniel Carr on the doorstep.
"It's not like we played badly, didn't work and didn't compete;
we've just got to find answers," Canadiens right winger Brendan
Gallagher said. "Scoring goals isn't easy but if you do the right
things over and over again, they'll start to go in."
NOTES: Canadiens LW Tomas Fleischmann returned to the lineup after
sitting the last two games as a healthy scratch. ... Montreal
scratched RW Devante Smith-Pelly, D Jarred Tinordi and D Greg
Pateryn. ... The Blackhawks scratched LW Brandon Mashinter and LW
Bryan Bickell while D Erik Gustafsson missed the game with a
lower-body injury. ... Chicago C Artem Anisimov flew to Montreal on
Thursday after missing Tuesday's game against Nashville with an
illness. ... Canadiens D Andrei Markov dressed for his 890th career
game with the team, tying Doug Harvey for 12th on the Habs' games
played list. ... Blackhawks LW Phillip Danault suited up for his
first appearance in his home province since playing for his hometown
of Victoriaville in the QMJHL.
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