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Blue Jackets nip Habs, move up in Metropolitan Division
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Johansen scored the deciding goal with 3:01 remaining as the Columbus Blue Jackets came through with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
Derek MacKenzie had a short-handed tally earlier for Columbus, which improved to 7-2-1 in March and moved into a tie with the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets also received a goal from Brandon Dubinsky as well as 25 saves out of Sergei Bobrovsky.
Montreal had a three-game win streak halted despite a 37-save performance from Carey Price, with Brendan Gallagher and Thomas Vanek each potting goals in defeat.
"Tonight was a bad night for our team," Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien said. "We played a poor game."
Johansen's game-winner came via a strong defensive play from the center in the neutral zone. After stealing the puck from Montreal's Jarred Tinordi, he raced on Price on a partial breakaway and snuck a shot under the netminder's right arm to break a 2-2 stalemate.
"I was a little frustrated by one of the penalties I took earlier," said Johansen. "But at the end I was glad to be able to jump on their defender's mistake and score the winning goal."
Price had kept the Canadiens in the game up until that stage with several key saves, and Vanek -- fresh off a hat trick in Tuesday's 6-3 rout of Colorado -- evened the score at 2-2 with a left-circle blast off a Max Pacioretty feed 7:46 into the third period.
"Price played his best game since the Olympics and gave us a chance to stay in that game," Therrien remarked. "He was excellent."
Vanek's goal came just over four minutes after Bobrovsky stoned Lars Eller on a penalty shot to protect Columbus' 2-1 edge at the time.
Gallagher's score off a rebound of teammate Alex Galchenyuk's initial attempt had Montreal up 1-0 with 5:07 to go in the first period, and the Habs were awarded a power play a mere 41 seconds later when Johansen was sent off for a cross check.
However, the Jackets' Mark Letestu fired a shot on goal immediately off a faceoff in the Montreal zone, with MacKenzie crashing the net to knock home the carom just one minute after Gallagher's goal.
Dubinsky put Columbus ahead nearly seven minutes into the second, snapping a backhander past Price just moments after the latter turned away a shot from Blake Comeau.
MacKenzie's goal was his second short-handed tally this season and fifth of his career ... Montreal's David Desharnais had a four-game point streak end ... The Canadiens had won each of the two previous meetings between the clubs this season, including a 5-3 decision at Bell Centre on Oct. 17 ... The Blue Jackets were 0-for-8 on the power play, with Montreal going 1-for-3 in such situations.
03/20 23:28:54 ET
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