Smith nets pair as Blackhawks bounce Canadiens

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[January 16, 2020]    Zack Smith scored twice, and Drake Caggiula tallied a goal and an assist as the visiting Chicago Blackhawks topped the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory and seventh win in 10 games.

Blackhawks center Zack Smith (15) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens with teammates during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 32 of 33 shots for his first victory in his past three starts as the Canadiens saw their two-game winning streak snapped. Crawford, a Montreal native, improved to 6-0-2 with nine goals allowed in eight games at Bell Centre.

Starting for the first time since a 4-3 overtime loss at Detroit on Jan. 7, Canadiens goaltender Charlie Lindgren stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced. With Montreal traveling to Philadelphia on Thursday to complete a back-to-back set, Canadiens coach Claude Julien gave Lindgren the nod in place of Carey Price, who was in net for the club's past three games.

Lindgren, who blanked the Blackhawks for his first career shutout early in the 2017-18 season, lost the opportunity for a repeat effort at 5:42 of the first period. With Lindgren handling the puck behind the net, a crashing Caggiula forced a turnover and slid a pass to a waiting Smith, who slapped one home from the slot.

Smith struck again 2:50 later, redirecting a long wrist shot from Slater Koekkoek to put Chicago ahead 2-0.

The Canadiens drew to within 2-1 just 54 seconds into the second period. Ilya Kovalchuk found Phillip Danault in front of the net, and the former Blackhawk beat Crawford from the circle for his 12th goal of the season, one off his career high.

Chicago extended the lead back to two with an Alex DeBrincat power-play goal at 11:27 of the second. Patrick Kane notched the primary assist on the goal to record his 998th career point.

Max Domi's roughing penalty, for putting Chicago's Matthew Highmore in a headlock and removing the Blackhawk's helmet, prompted the power play -- and a benching from Julien for the rest of the period.

Caggiula capped the scoring at 11:40 of the third, stripping Jordan Weal of the puck at his own blue line and racing in for an unassisted goal.

Chicago finished 1-for-3 on the power play compared to 0-for-3 for Montreal.

--Field Level Media

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