Suzuki’s power-play winner helps Canadiens get past Flames

Montreal’s Nick Suzuki was denied on a creative scoring opportunity early in the Canadiens’ 4-2 win over Calgary on Thursday night.

He tried the same move on Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom later in the game and it proved to be the game-winner.

Suzuki faked a shot down low but instead of continuing with the puck behind the net, he banked it off the netminder from behind the goal line to put the Canadiens ahead to stay.

“We can see [he’s] in a great run after going through a slow start,” said Montreal head coach Dominque Ducharme. “He doesn’t need to be more intelligent than the game.

“I think he handled himself well tonight, he holds the team’s success at heart and he wants to make a difference.”

With nine points in his last five games, Suzuki has carried the Canadiens of late.

“His role this season was to be the No. 1 centre and it started slow but he’s playing extremely well lately,” said Montreal defenceman David Savard. “He’s the reason we were successful tonight. He’s one of the players we notice a lot on the ice and he’s hard to play against.”

Jake Evans iced the victory with an empty-netter. Ben Chiarot and Brendan Gallagher also scored for Montreal (4-10-3) and Jake Allen stopped 24 of 26 shots.

WATCH | Suzuki stays hot in Habs’ victory: 

Suzuki stays hot as Habs dampen Flames in Montreal

5 hours ago

Montreal’s Nick Suzuki scored his fourth goal in just five games during their 4-2 victory over Calgary. 1:02

Mikael Backlund and Andrew Mangiapane had first-period goals for the Flames (7-3-3) in the opener of their six-game road trip. Calgary has dropped two in a row.

Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 25 saves.

“We have a new game tomorrow so you can’t really dwell on it but tonight’s going to suck,” Markstrom said. “We all wanted to get off on a good start.”

The Flames will continue their road swing with a visit to Toronto on Friday night.

“We’re a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year and we’re trying to stay in the race, that’s the key,” said Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “Every night is a tough game and we’re not a team that will score a lot so we’ll need to do a lot of grinding and banging away.

“I think we did a lot more of that tonight than we did in the last couple of games.”

Montreal picked up five points over its five-game stint at home.

“We’ve dug ourselves a hole, we’re aware of that,” Ducharme said. “But we’re not coming here telling ourselves that it’s over because of that. We”re going to fight.”

Calgary opened the scoring at 2:02 as Backlund deflected Trevor Lewis’s shot from the point.

Chiarot pulled Montreal even with his second goal in as many games. The defenceman rushed to the net and tapped in a loose puck in Markstrom’s crease.

Calgary took a 2-1 lead at 16:22 when Mangiapane accepted a cross-ice pass from Sean Monahan and notched his ninth goal of the season.

Montreal tied it up again at 11:24 of the second period. Chris Wideman hit the post with a point shot and Gallagher knocked in the rebound.

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