Canadiens win 4-2, stop Avalanche streak at 10 games
MONTREAL — It took one of Jonathan Drouin’s best games of the season to stop Colorado’s 10-game winning streak.
Drouin had a goal and two assists, and the Montreal Canadiens ended a long run of surprising success for the Avalanche with a 4-2 victory Tuesday night.
“Definitely when you play a team that’s hot like that, you want to show your composure and we did that the whole game,” said Drouin, who scored his seventh goal of the season. “At the end we stopped skating a bit, but overall it was a very good game.”
Nicolas Deslauriers, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher also scored for the Canadiens. Carey Price made 20 saves for his 14th win.
Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher scored late in the third period for the Avalanche (27-17-3), who lost for the first time in 2018. Colorado’s previous defeat came against Arizona on Dec. 27.
“We had a great run,” coach Jared Bednar said. “It hasn’t moved us up the standings that much. We’re just sitting right in the thick of things. Most important thing is we turn the page. It was fun, it was good, and we’ll make sure to start another one.”
The Avalanche outscored their opponents 41-16 during the streak without ever conceding the first goal of the game.
“We knew we were playing a good skating team and a side that has a lot of skills,” Drouin said. “Our skating game had to be a part of that. That’s when we’re at our best, when we’re skating and forechecking. I think we did that the whole night.”
Jonathan Bernier stopped 36 shots but dropped to 0-7-2 in Montreal. The former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie is 1-10-3 vs. the Canadiens.
Montreal outshot Colorado 40-22 and won for only the second time in six games.
“They worked harder than us tonight,” Bernier said. “We lacked a lot of energy. We didn’t create enough scoring chances. We can’t get too down, obviously. Everybody is a little sour right now. We just have to learn from that game tonight. We didn’t compete.”
The Avalanche were coming off a 4-2 win Monday night in Toronto and their legs looked heavy to start the game. Colorado fired just five shots on Price in the first, none too dangerous.
After a scoreless opening period, Deslauriers put the Canadiens in front at 5:42 of the second. Drouin’s shot was blocked by Mark Barberio, but Deslauriers got his stick on the loose puck in the slot and beat Bernier through his legs for his career-best seventh of the season.
The goal put the Avalanche behind for only the second time in 11 games. It also was the first time they conceded the first goal in a game since their last defeat.
Galchenyuk increased Montreal’s lead with a power-play goal at 7:58 of the second. After sustained puck possession by the Canadiens, Drouin connected with Galchenyuk, who fired a one-timer past Bernier.
“(Drouin) was very good tonight,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “He skated very well and had some nice plays. He was really involved in the play tonight.”
The 22-year-old Drouin made it 3-0 with his seventh goal at 12:36 of the third after a great individual effort by Jeff Petry along the boards to get him the puck. It was Drouin’s first three-point game of the season.
MacKinnon ruined Price’s shutout bid two minutes later with a shot from the point before Gallagher scored his 17th into an empty net.
Compher cut it to 4-2 with 12 seconds remaining.
NOTES: Colorado’s longest franchise winning streak was 12 games, in 1999. … Deslauriers’ previous high was six goals in 70 games with Buffalo in 2015-16.
Avalanche: Thursday night at St. Louis.
Canadiens: Home against Carolina on Thursday night.