(Montreal) The Canadian fought his second good battle against the reigning Stanley Cup winner in just over two weeks, but once again conceded defeat.
Jack Eichel broke a tie late in the third period on the power play to go along with two assists and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Montreal club 6-5 on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
The Habs scored at least four goals in regulation for just the second time this season. He previously accomplished the feat in his first game, a 6-5 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But he squandered leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 against the Golden Knights who didn’t give up.
Jesse Ylönen scored twice, Alex Newhook had a goal and an assist, while Johnathan Kovacevic and Justin Barron also scored for the Canadians (7-8-2), who suffered their third loss in a row. Nick Suzuki had two assists and Cayden Primeau made 36 saves.
Shea Theodore had a goal and three assists and Mark Stone had a goal and two assists for the Golden Knights (13-3-1), who were also helped by the success of Brayden McNabb, Brett Howden and Jonathan Marchessault. Adin Hill stopped 23 shots.
The Canadian lost defender Arber Xhekaj in the second period. He headed to the locker room shortly after receiving a strong blow from Ivan Barbasev. The team said it was an upper body injury.
Striker Michael Pezzetta was included in the Canadian lineup for this match. He replaced Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who was dealing with a lower-body injury. Harvey-Pinard’s health will be checked daily.
The Canadian will play his next game on Saturday, when he visits the Bruins in Boston.
The Canadian players’ fathers were invited to the Bell Center on Thursday, and those in attendance will see the team off to Boston this weekend.
After a beautiful tribute to Karl Tremblay, the singer of the Cowboys Fringants who died on Wednesday, the Canadian scored two goals in the first period for the first time this season.
Newhook hit the target on the Canadian’s first shot at 6:43, and the visitors already had eight on the clock. He surprised Hill on the side of the shield.
Kovacevic in turn beat Hill by targeting the same spot at 10:03, after Newhook’s shot hit Golden Knights forward Michael Amadia near the slot.
Newhook snapped a 13-game hitting streak, while Kovacevic scored his first goal of the season in his 17th.e Exit.
At the other end of the ice, Primeau made several stops. In that span, he bearded William Karlsson five times, including at least four times on quality chances.
The official scorer was busy in the second period, when both teams scored a total of six goals.
Howden put the Golden Knights on the board with a goal at 2:33.
Ylönen scored his first goal of the game at 8:28, after cutting in after intercepting the puck at the visitors’ blue line.
McNabb responded 18 seconds later for the Golden Knights. He was hit by Theodore’s shot as he went through the slot, then surprised Primeau, who was looking for the puck.
Marchessault tied the game at 3-3 at 11:20 on a two-on-one run, but the Canadian regained the lead 33 seconds later. Ylönen took advantage of Michael Pezzetta’s pass from behind the net and beat Hill with one shot.
Theodore, however, came back at 16:07, giving the Golden Knights a 4-4 tie before the end of the second period. He beat Primeau with a long shot during the power play.
Brendan Gallagher took a double minor for a high shot with 2:51 left in regulation, opening the door for the Golden Knights.
Eichel took the opportunity to beat Primeau in the upper part of the glove 55 seconds later.
After Stone’s insurance goal, Barron gave the fans hope by cutting the deficit to 6-5 with 53.2 seconds left. Hill, however, withstood the Habs’ final charge.