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Hats fall onto the ice as \c13 celebrates a hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on January 25, 2016.. Columbus beat Montreal 5-2. (Russell LaBounty/USA Today Sports)
Hats fall onto the ice as \c13 celebrates a hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on January 25, 2016.. Columbus beat Montreal 5-2. (Russell LaBounty/USA Today Sports)

Atkinson gets hat trick, Blue Jackets beat Canadiens 5-2 Add to ...

Cam Atkinson had his third-career hat trick and Brandon Saad scored twice to help the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the struggling Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Monday night to end a three-game losing streak.

Atkinson’s linemates Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner each had three assists and rookie Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 32 shots.

Montreal’s P.K. Subban tied it 2-2 midway through the second, but Columbus scored three goals in the third, including a go-ahead score from Saad 9:06 into the period.

Subban and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal and an assist and Mike Condon made 20 saves for Montreal, which hasn’t won consecutive games since late November.

Columbus played a second straight game without coach John Tortorella after he broke two ribs falling after a collision with a player at practice Friday.

Montreal is 7-17-2 since last season’s Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price suffered a lower-body injury on Nov. 25. It was 17-4-2 when Price went down, and the goalie is expected to miss another three weeks.

Saad made it 3-2 by driving in a loose puck that caromed to him off Jeff Petry’s skate.

Max Pacioretty nearly got the goal right back by bullying his way to the net, but Korpisalo turned the close-range shot aside.

Saad scored his 18th into an empty net at 18:48, and Atkinson finished a tic-tac-toe passing combination with Dubinsky and Jenner at 19:35 to score his 16th.

Gallagher benefited from two fortuitous deflections on a 5-on-3 power play to give Montreal a 1-0 lead at 10:39 of the first period. His pass banked off Gregory Campbell’s stick and Jack Johnson’s glove before going in.

Four minutes later, more ping-pong puck action proved lucky, this time for Columbus. The puck eventually came to Dubinsky and he made a short touch pass to Atkinson, who scored on a one-timer from the low slot.

Atkinson made it 2-1 at 2:52 of the second period, circling out of the left corner and netting a backhander inside the near post.

Subban drew Montreal even on what initially looked like an innocent play. Pulling his stick back a stride inside the centre red line, Subban rifled a high shot that made its way past a surprised Korpisalo at 8:36.

 

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