Patrik Laine ripped the game-winning power-play goal with 7.2 seconds left in regulation as the Columbus Blue Jackets claimed their fifth straight road victory by beating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.
On Columbus’ third power play of the game, after Montreal’s Jeff Petry went off for tripping, Laine one-timed a pass from Zach Werenski from the left circle to give the Blue Jackets their third consecutive win.
Laine assisted on Oliver Bjorkstrand’s first-period goal to give the Finnish winger a six-game point streak (seven goals, five assists).
In his fourth consecutive start, Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins withstood a strong third period by the Canadiens and made 30 saves in the victory.
Montreal’s Cole Caufield scored for the second consecutive game, but the Canadiens lost their ninth straight game (0-7-2) and are 2-16-5 since the start of December.
Sam Montembeault made his first start since allowing three goals to Columbus on Jan. 30 and being pulled in the middle of the first period of the Blue Jackets’ 6-3 win in Montreal. Montembeault had 40 saves in the rematch.
Montreal interim head coach Martin St. Louis slipped to 0-2-0 after taking the position Wednesday.
Playing the middle game of their season-long five-game road trip, the Blue Jackets were in control during the early going.
Inside the game’s first seven shots – all by Columbus, which outshot Montreal 18-8 in the first period – Bjorkstrand manoeuvred through the slot and notched his 14th goal just 76 seconds into the game.
Manning the net while playing with an injured wrist, Montembeault starred in the second period to keep the Canadiens down by a single marker.
The Becancour, Que., native was stellar in goal, stopping all 14 shots but the Canadiens could not find the net against Merzlikins on its nine shots.
Following a turnover in the Canadiens’ offensive zone, Caufield tied the game at 1-all in the third period by taking a feed from Ryan Poehling and scoring his third of the season at 2:55.