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game recap

Canadiens cruise past Canucks, split two-game set

Kotkaniemi has goal, assist for Montreal; Vancouver winning streak ends at three

by Kevin Woodley / Independent Correspondent

Perry scores slick goal

MTL@VAN: Perry dekes around Demko and scores

Corey Perry skates in on a 2 on 1, gets a pass and buries on a slick move around Thatcher Demko, giving the Canadiens a 2-0 lead in the 2nd

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VANCOUVER -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist for the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.

Carey Price made 23 saves, and Phillip Danault scored his first goal of the season for the Canadiens (12-6-7), who were coming off a 2-1 shootout loss in Vancouver on Monday and improved to 5-0-2 against the Canucks this season.

Montreal is on a six-game point streak (3-0-3) and 3-1-3 since coach Claude Julien was fired Feb. 24 and replaced by Dominique Ducharme.

"I thought it was our best game," Ducharme said. "We were relentless in everything we were doing and we made it really hard for them and then we could counter, we could go on to offense and bring our speed because we were connected, and that's what we're working on."

Brock Boeser scored, and Thatcher Demko made 40 saves for the Canucks (12-16-2), whose winning streak ended at three games.

"They came out hungrier right from the start and they outworked us. That's all there is to it," Boeser said. "We've been playing pretty good hockey lately. I think everyone in the room can say they're not happy with that performance. We know our standard. That's unacceptable."

Video: MTL@VAN: Boeser hammers home a power-play goal

The Canadiens changed the right wing on their top three lines and had the first seven shots on goal of the game. They outshot the Canucks 16-4 in the first period, and Kotkaniemi made it 1-0 at 15:34 on a one-timer from just above the left face-off dot off a pass from behind the net by Tyler Toffoli.

"I think [the new lines] worked really good," Kotkaniemi said. "[Toffoli] is really good with the puck and he always find guys where they are, and everyone knows [Brendan Gallagher] is working really hard, so he's doing most of my jobs too, so it's really easy for me."

Video: MTL@VAN: Kotkaniemi buries a shot from the circle

Corey Perry made it 2-0 at 2:09 of the second period, taking a cross-ice pass on a 2-on-1 and cutting back the other way around Demko.

"It seemed like Montreal was jumping and had a little bit of a quicker step," Demko said. "Every team is going to have games like that. We strung a couple of wins together there and we had an off night tonight, but now it's our job to make sure we don't string a couple of losses together."

Boeser made it 2-1 at 4:54 when he scored on a power play with a one-timer over Price's glove, but Shea Weber gave Montreal a 3-1 lead with a power-play goal at 14:11.

Jeff Petry scored his 10th goal on an odd-man rush to make it 4-1 at 6:36 of the third period. He is the first Canadiens defenseman to score 10 goals in 25 games or fewer to start a season since 1937-38, when Georges Mantha did it in 13 games.

Danault scored on a rebound with 6:11 left for the 5-1 final and pretended to throw something off his shoulders as he celebrated.

"There was more than one monkey," said Danault, who scored 13 goals in 71 games last season. "I threw a bunch of monkeys off my back."

Video: MTL@VAN: Danault buries 1st of the season in front

It was the sixth game this season Montreal scored at least five goals against Vancouver, the most by an NHL team against one opponent in a season since 1992-93 (Canucks against San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings; Quebec Nordiques against Ottawa Senators; Canadiens against Hartford Whalers; and Calgary Flames against Sharks).

The Canadiens have scored 34 goals in seven games against the Canucks, the most by an NHL team against one opponent in a season since the Boston Bruins scored 36 goals in six games against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2011-12.

"Not every night a certain line is going to be carrying your team, so the balance helps," Weber said. "You know if someone is off one night, another line will pick them up, another [defense] pair will pick them up and pick up the slack, and that's what good teams are all about."

NOTES: Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot left the game with a hand injury after fighting Canucks center J.T. Miller at 15:02 of the first period and won't be able to play Thursday at the Flames, Ducharme said. … Price has allowed one goal in each of his past four starts, making 105 saves on 109 shots (.963 save percentage). … Vancouver played a fourth straight game without top center Elias Pettersson, who is expected to miss another week with an upper-body injury.

Video: Kotkaniemi has a goal and an assist in 5-1 victory

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