The Montreal Canadiens, off to a 2-1-0 start on their five-game road trip, continue the trek with a Saturday matinee against the Los Angeles Kings.
After dropping the first game of the trip 5-2 against the Boston Bruins, coach Martin St. Louis’ group responded with a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and a 3-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks on Friday afternoon.
It’s the first road trip of more than three games this season for the young Canadiens squad.
Against the Ducks, Alex Newhook opened the night’s scoring, and his game-winner with 3:20 remaining allowed Montreal to snap a four-game losing streak.
Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault recorded 30 saves in that contest, including a number of spectacular stops to preserve the win.
Defenseman Jayden Struble, 22, made his NHL debut against Anaheim, then notched an assist against San Jose for his first career point.
Montreal rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Sharks, finalizing the 3-2 victory on Jesse Ylonen’s sixth-round winner in the shootout.
Canadiens sharpshooter Cole Caufield, 22, had a goal and an assist to eclipse 100 career points. Johnathan Kovacevic supplied Montreal’s other goal, and Cayden Primeau stopped 31 of the 33 shouts he faced through regulation and overtime. He was beaten just once on six attempts in the shootout, though the Sharks missed the target twice.
“This league is hard,” St. Louis said. “You’ve got to find ways, and I think that’s what we did tonight.”
After the Ducks fell to the Canadiens, they played host to the Kings on Black Friday in the first Freeway Face-Off of the season.
Kevin Fiala scored twice as the Kings built a 4-0 lead in the first 23 minutes of game time, and Los Angeles cruised to a 5-2 victory.
Fiala credited linemates Trevor Moore and Phillip Danault.
“We have the same type of vision,” Fiala said, according to NHL.com. “All three guys are really fast going to the net. We cycle the puck, we grind down and also, defensively, we do a good job, so it’s been good.”
The result was the Kings’ ninth consecutive road victory to start the season. Los Angeles tied the second-longest streak of that nature in NHL history. The Buffalo Sabres won 10 straight on the road to open the 2006-07 season, and the New Jersey Devils won nine in a row away from home to start the 2009-10 campaign.
“We all just came out to play,” said Los Angeles winger Quinton Byfield, who notched his fourth marker of the season. “We got out to an early lead, and being able to maintain it, that’s what good teams do. … It’s a lot of fun right now when everything is clicking and working.”
Anze Kopitar contributed a goal and an assist, and Arthur Kaliyev also scored for the Kings. Kopitar notched the 757th assist of his career, tying the franchise record held by Marcel Dionne. Moore, Drew Doughty and Adrian Kempe registered two assists apiece, and Cam Talbot made 29 saves for the victory.