VANCOUVER — Nicolas Deslauriers had the first two-goal game of his NHL career, Carey Price made 34 saves, and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 7-5 on Tuesday night.
Jeff Petry, Daniel Carr and Philip Danualt added a goal and an assist each for Montreal (15-15-4), while Paul Byron and Alex Galachenyuk also scored. Max Pacioretty had two assists.
Thomas Vanek had a hat trick and an assist for Vancouver (15-16-4), while Daniel Sedin and Brock Boeser each added a goal and an assist. Anders Nilsson stopped 25 shots. Henrik Sedin chipped in with two assists of his own.
The Canucks came in having lost five of their last six in regulation by a combined 29-9 scoreline, while the Canadiens, who dropped the NHL 100 Classic to the Senators 3-0 outdoors in frigid Ottawa on Saturday, were 1-3-1 following a five-game winning streak that coincided with Price’s returned from a lower-body injury.
Tied 3-3 in a wild second period, Petry gave Montreal the lead for good with 46.1 seconds left when his shot from the point on the power play beat Nilsson cleanly through a screen.
The defenceman’s fourth goal of the season came three seconds after Vancouver’s Alex Biega was whistled for cross checking — a call that left Canucks head coach Travis Green fuming.
Byron then made it 5-3 at 1:37 of the third after getting a second bite at the apple on a nifty behind-the-back feed from Pacioretty for his 10th following a sequence where the Canucks’ defensive zone coverage left a lot to be desired.
Boeser, who left the Canucks’ 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday after taking a shot off his left ankle, hit the post behind Price in the second period, but made no mistake with 6:31 to play, ripping his 18th past Price’s glove to make it 5-4.
The Canadiens looked to have put the game to bed with 2:33 left when Galchenyuk scored his eighth on a 2-on-1 that turned into a breakaway, but Vanek buried his third of the night and 10th of the year off a scramble with 61 seconds on the clock.
Danault added his seventh with 10.9 seconds left into an empty net.
After the teams traded power-play goals in the first, Price gave the puck away in the slot three minutes into the second to Alexander Burmistrov, whose shot rang of the post and stayed out.
Montreal grabbed a 2-1 lead at 7:18 after Petry wove from his own end through the neutral zone and across the Vancouver blue line before finding Byron Froese, who in turn fed Deslauriers for his second of the year.
Vanek responded by finishing off a nice passing play where Biega found him at the side of the net with six minutes left in the period.
Deslauriers then put Montreal back in front at 17:05 on a 2-on-1 break with his second of the night on a shot from just inside the blue line Nilsson will want to have back.
But the back-and-forth continued just 34 seconds later when Daniel Sedin tapped home a loose puck into an open net off a Vanek shot that hit Montreal’s Thomas Plekanec, who in turn wiped out Price to make it 3-3.
The injury-riddled Canucks got some good news before the game with Boeser’s surprise return to the lineup after leaving Sunday’s loss Calgary. The 20-year-old sniper, who entered Tuesday leading both his team and all NHL rookies in scoring, crawled to the bench in agony against the Flames, but tests Monday revealed he only suffered a bone bruise — not a fracture.
Vancouver also got defenceman Erik Gudbranson (upper body) back after he missed the last 12 games, but the club is still minus two thirds of its top line with Bo Horvat (foot) and Sven Baertschi (jaw), while defencemen Christopher Tanev (groin) and checking centre Brandon Sutter (upper body) remain on the shelf.
Montreal was without Shea Weber because of a foot injury that is being re-evaluated. The Canadiens were 4-2-1 over a seven-game stretch minus their star defenceman last month while he was dealing with the same issue.
After Nilsson made an incredible diving save to rob Pacioretty a minute into the first, the Canucks connected late in their second power play of the period.
Derek Pouliot wheeled away from a scrum in front before ripping a shot from the point that hit Vanek, who was quickest to the loose puck to bury his eighth at 11:37.
The Canadiens tied it up 1-1 late in a man advantage of their own when David Schlemko’s shot from the point deflected off Carr’s skate and past Nilsson for his third at 16:39.
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press