EditorsNote: Tweaks second and third grafs, relative to playoff picture
Joel Armia, Jeff Petry and Jordan Weal all scored as the visiting Montreal Canadiens held on to claim a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night that was crucial to their playoff hopes.
Montreal goalie Carey Price stopped 23 shots in a victory that keeps his team in the thick of the playoff race, along with fellow wild-card candidates Carolina and Columbus, who both also won on Saturday.
Montreal (42-29-8, 92 points) is on a 5-1-1 roll, remaining one point back of the Hurricanes and even with the Blue Jackets, though the Canadiens have one fewer game remaining.
Armia, who was traded by the Jets to Montreal last summer, opened the scoring with a power-play goal with just under three minutes remaining in the opening frame. As the Canadiens moved the puck around, Armia moved into a quiet spot in the slot, and, upon receiving a pass from Phillip Danault, snapped a one-timer home for his 12th goal of the season.
Petry doubled the lead with 36.6 seconds remaining in the second period.
Shortly after Winnipeg’s Kevin Hayes hit the post on a golden chance, Petry was set up at his point position with a cross-ice pass, and his one-timer banked off the far post and into the net to give him a career-high 13 goals on the year.
With his assist on Petry’s goal, Max Domi reached the 70-point mark, the first Habs player to reach that number since Tomas Plekanec had 70 points in 2009-10.
Mathieu Perreault gave the Jets life when he put them on the board at the 11:24 mark of the third period, burying a rebound after Price stopped Jacob Trouba’s shot, but Weal scored on an empty net with 15.4 seconds remaining to ice the game.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 41 shots for the Jets (45-29-4, 94 points), who have lost three consecutive games in regulation time.
There was some good news for Winnipeg, as defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returned to the lineup after missing 19 games due to injury.
—Field Level Media