MONTREAL (AP)Kirby Dach scored two goals and Samuel Montembeault made 30 saves, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
Dach, who was traded from Chicago to Montreal last summer at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, said that he’s finding chemistry with Cole Caulfield and captain Nick Suzuki on the Habs’ top line.
”It’s been a ton of fun,” the 21-year-old Dach said about playing with Suzuki and Caufield. ”We hang out a lot off the ice and at the rink, we’re always talking and letting each other know what each one sees on the ice and maybe different plays we can run.
”The chemistry’s been great, it’s been there right away.”
Veteran forward Brendan Gallagher is impressed with Dach just 14 games into the season.
”You can see the talent that he has, he works at it,” Gallagher said. ”He has a big body, he enjoys being a part of a competitive atmosphere, he enjoys everything the city’s bringing to him and he’s having fun.
”He’s playing his game and that’s what you want. It’s exciting to see him, Cole and (Suzuki) work together.”
Nick Suzuki, Arber Xhekaj and Dach gave Montreal (7-6-1) a three-goal lead in the first period. Mike Hoffman also scored for the third time in two games.
”I really liked our first period, I think it was one of our best periods from start to finish,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis sasid. ”It’s never easy to play a third period up by four goals because the most dangerous person is the one that has nothing to lose, so they take a lot more chances.
”They were dangerous in the third.”
Luke Schenn and Nils Hoglander scored for Vancouver (4-7-3) in a failed comeback try in the third period.
Thatcher Demko had a difficult night in the Canucks’ net, stopping 22 shots.
”Obviously, we know the start wasn’t good enough for us tonight,” Vancouver’s Bo Horvat said. ”There’s no excuse for the way we started tonight.
”I thought there were parts of our game that I really liked, but obviously it wasn’t good enough for us tonight all-around.”
The Canadiens scored on the power play just 55 seconds in. Suzuki scored on a shot from the point, making Vancouver pay for Tanner Pearson’s hooking penalty.
Montreal doubled its lead with another shot from the point as Xhekaj scored his second of the season on a wrister that deflected off Pearson and into the net.
Dach added a third Canadiens goal when he stole the puck from J.T. Miller in Vancouver’s zone and beat Demko.
Hoffman gave the Canadiens a four-goal lead in the second period. He outpaced Jack Rathbone and beat Demko with a wrister. Hoffman also had a pair of goals in Montreal’s 3-2 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
Vancouver scored at 4:46 of the third. Schenn’s slap shot from the point whizzed through traffic and beat Montembeault.
Hoglander cut the Canucks’ deficit to two goals by coverting a rebound for his first goal of the season.
Dach put the game away when Suzuki found him all alone with a cross-ice pass. The 22-year-old scored his second of the game with a wrist shot.
HORVAT STREAK END
Bo Horvat’s hot streak came to an end in Montreal. Horvat recorded at least one point in his last five games and six goals in his last four. In total, the centre picked up eight goals and two assists during the streak.
SUZUKI ON A ROLL
Nick Suzuki scored his sixth goal since Oct. 29, trailing only Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson with seven in that span. Suzuki has tied Brendan Gallagher for second-most in Canadiens’ history with a third opening-minute goal. Only Max Pacioretty (five) has more in franchise history.
Vancouver: At Toronto on Saturday in the third game of a five-game trip.
Montreal: Hosts Pittsburg Penguins on Saturday.
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