2022 – Canadians rally for a rare victory in Columbus

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Canadians received an unexpected attack from their defensive corps as they rallied in the third period to claim a rare 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday at Nationwide Arena.

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Rookie Arber Xhekaj, who returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s 7-2 home loss to Buffalo, tied the Canadians at 1-1 when he scored his third goal of the season at 2:38 of the third period.

And David Savard got the rebound when he was credited with his first goal of the season at 3:35. He went hard at the net and was rewarded when Kirby Dach’s pass veered off his skate.

Sean Monahan completed the scoring in an empty net.

There was no goal until Mathieu Olivier, born in Mississippi where his father Simon played in the ECHL, took advantage of a turnover from Mike Matheson in the defensive zone to score an unassisted goal at 1 :08 of the third period.

The Canadiens, who improved to 10-9-1 this season, haven’t had much success here. They lost to the Blue Jackets 6-4 last week and Columbus was 8-2-0 in their last 10 home games against Montreal.

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Sam Montembeault made 29 saves as he took his record to 4-2-1.

For a third game in a row, the Canadiens got off to a slow start, which isn’t all that surprising considering they played 24 hours earlier in Montreal. The difference this time around was that the Blue Jackets also struggled to start and Montreal outscored the home team 7-6 in the scoreless first period.

Montembeault had to stop back-to-back breakaways early in the second period. After the Blue Jackets held Montreal to a shot on goal on the power play, Olivier had a clean breakaway outside the penalty area, but Montembeault made the glove save. Gustav Nyquist had a breakaway 14 seconds later, but Montembeault closed the five hole.

Cole Caufield created a chance late in the second period as the teams went 4 on 4. Joonas Korpisalo came out to play a puck and Caufield blasted it off his stick. The Montreal sniper landed a shot from a sharp angle but shot wide of the net.

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