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game recap

Canadiens defeat Jets, keep pace for second wild card in East

Weal has goal, assist against Winnipeg, which remains tied for Central lead

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

Petry buries one-timer

MTL@WPG: Petry blasts one-timer past Hellebuyck

Jeff Petry fires a one-timer from the point past Connor Hellebuyck to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead late in the 2nd period

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WINNIPEG -- The Montreal Canadiens kept pace for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on Saturday.

Jordan Weal had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens (42-29-8), who are tied in points with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who won 5-2 at the Nashville Predators on Saturday and hold a game in hand. Carey Price made 23 saves.

"That was a full 60-minute effort," Weal said. "You kind of saw that through the shot count throughout the game, limiting their O-zone time and creating a lot for ourselves. We were a little bit disappointed after the last one, of course, we played hard for half the game and it just slipped away from us."


[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Jets highlights]


Connor Hellebuyck made 41 saves for the Jets (45-29-4), who are tied for first place in the Central Division with the Predators. Winnipeg has lost three straight in regulation for the first time in two seasons.

"Well, we're trying to win a Central Division," Jets forward Blake Wheeler said. "It might come as a surprise but those guys get paid too. They're NHL players, so as bad as we want to blow everyone out of our building and beat them 5-0, it's not reality sometimes. It's not easy for us right now. Facing some adversity right now. We're going to be a better team once we get through it."

Video: MTL@WPG: Armia buries Danault's feed for PPG

Montreal, which outshot Winnipeg 44-24, is 5-1-1 in its past seven games.

"We've talked about this the whole time," Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber said. "We're not giving up. We're not out yet. Six more points available for us. We'll take the next game here and try to win that one and see what happens."

Joel Armia converted a tic-tac-toe play on the power play at 17:05 of the first period to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.

"I think we just need to keep playing like that every game," Armia said. "Every game is big right now. Today we just kept it simple and played really fast I think through the whole 60, so that was the key."

Jeff Petry's point shot found its way through a crowd in front of Hellebuyck to make it 2-0 at 19:23 of the second period.

"We just need to dig a little deeper here," Hellebuyck said. "We're right in it. Real close. Going to continue grinding, wear teams away and get that extra one or that extra block or that extra stop that's going to win us these games."

Matthieu Perreault pulled the Jets to 2-1 at 11:24 of the third period, but Weal made it 3-1 into an empty net at 19:44.

"They're a desperate team and that was a playoff-type of game," Wheeler said. "We're going to have to get used to playing that type of game." 

Video: MTL@WPG: Price makes multiple saves to preserve lead


They said it

"I thought right from the get-go we were prepared and made good, solid passes, good decisions. Our defensive game was really good. Our [defensemen] were doing a great job of really having a tight gap and forcing them not to come in easily on the rush." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien

"Our leg drive, we look slow at times, especially on decisions and moving the puck. A big strength of what we had we'll have to find that energy level because we are going back. This is going to be a six-game block again and we look slow going into it, so going into a back-to-back, that's the area of concern for us. Our fast players don't look particularly fast right now and we've got to find that energy." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice


Need to know

Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien returned after missing 19 games with a lower-body injury. He was minus-1 with three hits in 24:24. … Weal has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past six games. … Wheeler has one assist in his past six games after having 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in his previous 13. … Canadiens forward Max Domi had an assist and has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past seven games.


What's next

Canadiens: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, SUN, NHL.TV)

Jets: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; WGN, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Video: Weal records two points as Canadiens defeat Jets, 3-1

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