Gallagher, Price help Canadiens win fourth straight
DETROIT — The Montreal Canadiens are feeling really good about themselves these days.
Right winger Brendan Gallagher had two goals and an assist to lead Montreal to a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena.
It was the Canadiens’ fourth consecutive win.
“It feels really good right now. We’ve had things going well for the last couple weeks, but this week has been huge,” Gallagher said. “We’ve gotten four wins, and now we can get another huge division win against those guys on Saturday. We have to keep this going.”
Detroit (10-11-5) plays at Montreal (12-12-3) on Saturday.
The return of goaltender Carey Price has coincided with the Canadiens’ winning streak. He has been in net for all four wins since coming back from a lower-body injury that had sidelined him for 10 games. He made 28 saves Thursday and has stopped 128 of 133 shots since his return.
“Having him back there is huge,” said left winger Alex Galchenyuk, who also scored. “Because we know that if we can put a couple pucks in the net, he’s going to win the game for us. That’s huge for all us to know.”
Left winger Max Pacioretty had a goal and an assist, while left winger Charles Hudon and right winger Andrew Shaw also scored for Montreal. Centers Tomas Plekanec and Phillip Danault, and defenseman Jeff Petry had two assists apiece.
The Canadiens were playing the second of back-to-back games after defeating Ottawa 2-1 in Montreal on Wednesday night. Price was also in goal for that game.
“We played a tough game last night and we didn’t get in until early this morning, so I thought we had some heavy legs in the first period,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “Once we got comfortable, we were very good.”
Right winger Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist, and left winger Tomas Tatar and center Frans Nielsen scored for Detroit.
“Stupid hockey. Just craziness. Too many easy goals,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Absolutely crazy easy goals.”
Detroit is winless in its last six games (0-3-3).
“We have to find a way to get back to basics and play better and win battles,” center and captain Henrik Zetterberg said.
Goalie Jimmy Howard made 19 saves.
The Canadiens scored three goals in the second period to take a 4-2 lead.
Hudon tied the game 2-2 at 4:46 of the second when he put a loose puck into the open side of the net. It was Hudon’s third goal. Shaw gave Montreal a 3-2 lead 43 seconds later with his sixth goal, when he broke in off the left wing and beat Howard with a wrist shot from the right circle. Galchenyuk made it 4-2 with 2:11 remaining in the middle period when he put in a loose puck from the bottom of the right circle. It was Galchenyuk’s sixth goal.
“We’ve given up too many goals,” Blashill said. “Is that Jimmy (Howard)? No. it’s been a collective effort.”
Gallagher’s second goal of the game, 8:35 into the third, made it 5-2. The tip-in was his 12th goal. Pacioretty got a power-play goal with 4:01 left. It was his eighth goal.
Nielsen scored his seventh goal with 2:24 left.
Gallagher’s first goal gave Montreal a 1-0 lead 4:10 into the game on the power play.
Mantha tied it for Detroit 1:04 later with his 12th goal. Tatar’s power-play goal with 4:17 left in the first period gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.
NOTES: The win was coach Claude Julien’s 100th with the Canadiens. ... Montreal C Jonathan Drouin (5-12-17) did not play because of a lower-body injury. “I don’t have any update,” Julien said. “He’s at home, getting therapy, but I don’t know beyond that.” ... Detroit D Trevor Daley returned after missing two games with a neck stinger. ... Red Wings RW Martin Frk didn’t play because of a groin injury. ... Detroit C Scott Wilson was a healthy scratch. ... Montreal’s healthy scratches were Ds Joe Morrow and Brandon Davidson.