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Fleischmann scores twice, Canadiens defeat Jets

by Sean Farrell /

MONTREAL -- Mike Condon made 18 saves, and Tomas Fleischmann had two goals and an assist to help the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell Centre.

David Desharnais had a goal and two assists, Paul Byron scored a shorthanded goal in a second straight game, and Lars Eller had a power-play goal for the Canadiens (11-2-0), who returned home after losing the first two on their three-game trip to Western Canada.

"I couldn't ask for more," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "I think we played an impeccable game. The first game after a long Western trip, I definitely had certain concerns before the game, and the players responded in an extraordinary way."

Condon lost a bid for his first NHL shutout when Jets forward Chris Thorburn scored with 6:03 remaining.

"I'm happy to get the win, and that's all that matters in this game," said Condon, who started his second game in a row in place of Carey Price, who is out for a week because of a lower-body injury.

The 25-year-old rookie has won his first four games in the League, including Montreal's 6-2 victory at the Calgary Flames on Friday. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it is the most wins by a Canadiens goalie to start his career since Wayne Thomas won his first seven games in 1972-73.

"He's always ready," Desharnais said of Condon. "You can see it in his eyes; he's ready for the challenge and he's been great so far."

It was Condon's first start at Bell Centre, where the Canadiens remained perfect at 5-0-0 for their best start at home since 1979-80, when they won their first six games at the Forum.

"It was unbelievable," Condon said. "I got to put the red jersey on during preseason, but right now getting a regular-season game, it's a lot louder and a lot more fun, and just the whole energy and a very humbling moment for me."

Eller scored Montreal's fifth goal at 17:51 of the second period against Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who entered the game at 3:02 of the second after Desharnais scored the Canadiens' fourth goal in nine shots against starter Michael Hutchinson.

"We just weren't ready," Hutchinson said. "We got behind pretty quick in the game and we just kind of seemed like we were fighting the puck all night and just couldn't get anything going consistently offensively."

Pavelec made 16 saves for Winnipeg (7-4-1), which had won two in a row, including 3-2 at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"I can't tell you if they were really good because we were really bad, or vice versa," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "We didn't have any jump, and that's it. A far stronger analysis; we weren't very good."

Byron scored on a breakaway at 6:34 of the first period, 29 seconds after Montreal captain Max Pacioretty was penalized for high sticking, to make it 1-0.

Desharnais drove across the crease past Hutchinson on the play that led to the Canadiens' second goal at 16:26, when Fleischmann tapped in a rebound at the right side of the net.

Fleischmann made it 3-0 with his second goal of the game, his fourth of the season, 35 seconds into the second period.

"The Desharnais line has been really effective the last two games, as we all know," Therrien said. "They push the pace and they skate well, they attack the net. It's nice to see, but you look at all the lines, we've got speed and we use our speed to make sure that we're tough to play against, and we pursue the puck very well."

Montreal, which set a League record with nine straight regulation wins to start the season, continues its four-game homestand against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

The Canadiens record for consecutive wins at home to begin a season is nine, set from Oct. 8 to Nov. 12, 1953.

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