The Canadian squandered a three-goal lead against the team at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, but he later redeemed himself.
Cole Caufield was the only player to score in the shootout and the Montreal club won 4-3 against the New York Rangers on Saturday evening at the Bell Centre.
Caufield beat Jonathan Quick with a low shot from the glove side. At the other end of the ice, Samuel Montembeault was perfect against the three Rangers shooters.
The Canadian maintained his perfect record when he led after two periods (10-0-0).
If things were a little more complicated, it’s because the Canadian was a bit unlucky. He showed a certain lack of opportunism and was the victim of two goals from deflections.
Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan and Joel Armia scored in regulation time for the Canadian (17-17-5). Montembeault made 46 saves.
Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (26-10-2). Adam Fox also scored a goal, while Quick stopped 28 shots.
Forward Emil Heineman was inserted into the Canadian’s lineup and played a third game with the team this season. He replaced defender Johnathan Kovacevic, while coach Martin St-Louis had decided to return to a conventional formation with 12 attackers and six defenders.
The Canadian will play his next game on Wednesday, when he visits the Philadelphia Flyers. He will host the San Jose Sharks the next day at the Bell Center.
Lots of action
Gallagher scored with 8:23 left in the first period. He scored his first goal since November 11 by beating Quick on the glove side.
The tenacious attacker has at the same time joined Réjean Houle in 36th place in the history of the Canadian with 408 points in the blue-white-red uniform.
The Canadian was the most threatening club during the first period, even if the Rangers had a 14-7 advantage in shots on goal.
Despite everything, Montembeault was alert, frustrating Panarin and Blake Wheeler in particular during a Rangers power play.
The game then got lively in the second period.
Monahan surprised Quick 69 seconds into the game, when his shot deflected off defender Ryan Lindgren before landing in the goal.
Armia returned to the attack 90 seconds later. He beat Quick with a long shot between the pads.
The Rangers then moved on.
Trocheck first deflected an Erik Gustafsson shot into the back of the net at 10:28.
He then set up a Panarin goal at 14:29, pushing the puck behind Mitchell Stephens on a faceoff before passing to his accomplice. Panarin shot on reception and Montembeault did not have time to react.
Nick Suzuki, for the Canadian, then Mika Zibanejad, for the Rangers, in turn reached the post before the end of the second period.
The Canadian had three quality chances in the first half of the third period, but neither Juraj Slafkovsky nor Armia nor Caufield hit the target.
The Rangers showed opportunism to tie the game 3-3 at 9:30. Fox’s long shot deflected off defender David Savard before ending up in the back of the net.
Jake Evans and Mike Matheson came within inches of giving the Canadian the lead late in the third period, but they both hit the post.
The NHL’s best power play unit also had a chance to give the Rangers a win before the tiebreaker, but Montembeault closed the door.
Montembeault also made a stunning save against Alexis Lafrenière in the overtime period, prolonging the debate.
Caufield finally decided in a shootout.