The Winnipeg Jets hosted the Montreal Canadiens from Bell MTS Place Monday evening in the Habs’ lone visit to Manitoba in the 2019-20 season. Montreal had won the previous three meetings between the two teams in Winnipeg, with the Jets last winning at home on March 5, 2016. Monday’s game followed the same narrative, as the visitors came out on top, winning 6-2.
The game featured a few familiar faces in different places, as Joel Armia, Ben Chiarot and Nathan Beaulieu each played their former teams. Armia had skated in 179 regular season games over three seasons with Winnipeg, while Ben Chiarot had been a member of the Jets for 305 regular season games over six seasons. Beaulieu played 225 regular season games over five seasons for Montreal prior to coming to Manitoba.
Winnipeg opened the scoring – or so they thought – on a fancy passing play between Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine nine minutes into the game. However, Montreal successfully challenged the play for offside, which resulted in the goal being overturned. Unfortunately for Laine, the overturned play was Laine’s second disallowed goal of the month (Dec. 2).
Winnipeg got it back just moments later on a high-octane man-advantage. With former Jet Ben Chiarot in the penalty box for interference, Winnipeg capitalized on their fifth shot of the power play, as Kyle Connor jammed in a rebound for his 15thgoal of the season.
Montreal capitalized on a power play of their own, as Tomas Tatar scored his first of two first period goals for the Habs, one timing a puck past Laurent Brossoit off of a nice fake shot by Nick Suzuki. Just 1:32 later, Tatar picked up his second of the game on a rebound of his own, following a heavy Shea Weber point shot. The Canadiens led the Jets 17-16 in the shot department through 20 minutes of play.
The second period was, simply, a comedy of errors for Winnipeg. The highlight of the frame actually was a non-hockey play, as two Jets fans were a part of a successful surprise proposal aired live on the jumbotron during a television timeout.
Just five minutes into the second stanza, Brossoit coughed up the puck, leading to a desperation save attempt, in which he allowed Phillip Danault to bank in the ensuing rebound. Danault found his second of the game on a four-on-four situation midway through the second period. After a clean Montreal offensive zone faceoff win, Danault picked up the puck and beat Brossoit five-hole, extending the Habs’ lead to 4-1.
Patrik Laine momentarily gave Jets fans something to cheer about, as the 21-year-old potted his seventh goal of the month, 14thof the season, and fifth in his past five games past Carey Price on a long rocket of a wrist shot that beat the Habs’ netminder low blocker side.
Nathan Beaulieu then helped restore Montreal’s three-goal lead as he turned over the puck deep in Winnipeg’s end, before falling on Brossoit, and failing to block Max Domi’s shot into the open net with 40 seconds to play. Montreal led 5-2 after 40 minutes of play, while dominating the shot chart 34-22.
The Haps added another midway through the third, as Arthur Lehkonen hammered home a tremendous setup play off of a Max Domi offensive zone steal.
Laurent Brossoit did not have the greatest of outings, turning aside just 42 of Montreal’s 48 shots. Meanwhile, Carey Price found light duty, stopping 27 of 29 pucks fired his way.
Winnipeg will now enjoy a three-day holiday schedule break, before returning to action on December 27 at home against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. The Central Division matchup will be played at 7:00 PM central at Bell MTS Place and will be available to view on TSN3.