Deslauriers helps Habs outgun Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Nicolas Deslauriers is not relied upon for goals, but he still delivered them Tuesday night.
Deslauriers scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-5 at Rogers Arena. He tallied just his second and third goals of the season to help the Canadiens (15-15-4) post only their second victory in the past six games.
“Those are the chances I need to capitalize on,” Deslauriers said. “I know I’m not here for my points and stats, but if I can contribute like this and take some pressure off our top line, it means a lot.”
Deslauriers’ line combined for five points as Daniel Carr had a goal and an assist while Byron Froese supplied an assist.
“Just as a fourth line, we want to force (coach Claude Julien’s) hand to play us,” Deslauriers said. “There’s injuries, there’s guys that are going to come back in, but we want to force him to keep us together.”
Julien, who sought to shake up his team by adjusting his top two lines before the game, had no complaints about the Deslauriers unit.
“I just think they play the right way — it’s pretty simple,” Julien said. “When you look at what they are doing, they are doing exactly what we are asking of them, and their work ethic is what makes a big difference. They just compete so hard every time they are on the ice. They are winning board battles, they are winning races and they are in the right places to score, too.
“Pretty reliable line as well defensively. It’s to their credit. They deserve the accolades.”
Jeff Petry and Phillip Danault also had a goal and an assist as the Canadiens scored more goals than in their past four games combined. Paul Byron and Alex Galchenyuk (who had the game-winner) supplied Montreal’s other goals, while captain Max Pacioretty furnished two assists.
The Canucks absorbed their sixth loss in seven games and their 12th home setback compared to just six wins in their own arena. The loss spoiled a four-point night for Thomas Vanek, who recorded his 10th career hat trick and added an assist.
“There’s nothing sweet about it,” Vanek said of the hat trick. “We’re really struggling right now. We need points, and tonight I thought we deserved at least a point. ... But, again, we just gave up too many goals.”
Daniel Sedin and Brock Boeser each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver. Henrik Sedin contributed two assists.
“We’re scoring more goals and doing some other things right, but also we need to clean up some small areas,” said Boeser, who played despite hurting his foot in a 6-1 loss to Calgary on Sunday. “I think we gave up too many odd-man rushes tonight.”
The Canucks outshot the Canadiens 39-32, and both clubs went 2-for-3 on the power play.
Vanek’s second goal of the game forged a 2-2 deadlock at the 14-minute mark of the second period as he ramped defenseman Alex Biega’s pass up and over Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. The teams then combined for three goals in the final three minutes of the middle frame — and the scoring did not stop there.
Deslauriers’ second goal of the night — through Vancouver goaltender Anders Nilsson’s legs — sent the Canadiens ahead 3-2 at 17:05 of the middle frame. Daniel Sedin then drew the Canucks even only 34 seconds later as he stuffed in Vanek’s rebound.
With just 43 seconds left in the period, Petry fired in a slap shot during a power play, giving Montreal a 4-3 advantage after 40 minutes. The goal came only four seconds after Biega was penalized for cross-checking.
Byron gave the Canadiens a 5-3 lead just 1:37 into the third period. After losing control of the puck on a deke, he fired in Pacioretty’s behind-the-back pass from behind the net with Nilsson caught out of position.
Boeser pulled the Canucks within a goal on a power play at 13:29. but Galchenyuk restored Montreal’s two-goal lead before Vanek completed his hat trick. Danault then supplied an empty-netter.
Price posted 34 saves while Nilsson finished with 25.
“You deserve a point when you get five goals against Carey (Price) there,” Vanek said.
NOTES: C Reid Boucher played for the Canucks on Tuesday after being called up from Utica of the American Hockey League on Monday. ... Vancouver D Chris Tanev missed his third straight game due to a groin injury. ... Canadiens D Karl Alzner played his 574th consecutive contest.