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Montembeault, Canadiens snap five-game skid with 4-2 victory over Coyotes

MONTREAL — Sam Montembeault put forth quite the effort, but opted to deflect praise to his teammates.

Montembeault stopped 36 shots to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Tuesday. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Canadiens, while the Coyotes are now winless in 13 games.

“They had a lot of shots but even with that we’ve got some guys like (Mike) Matheson and (Johnathan) Kovacevic, they blocked a lot of shots too,” said Montembeault.

“They’ve got a lot of small shifty players that can move the puck in the offensive zone and I’m happy that we contained them to just two goals and got the win.”

Joel Armia, Jordan Harris, Tanner Pearson and Nick Suzuki, with an empty-net goal, scored for Montreal (23-28-8).

Harris put the Canadiens ahead 2-0 with just his second of the season at 4:52 of the second period.

“It was a big goal for us there in the second period,” Montembeault said of Harris's goal. “He doesn’t get too many chances to go on a 2-on-1 like this but he took his chance and it was a great shot.”

Harris later set up Pearson to give Montreal a 3-1 edge 5:14 into the third period, and proved to be the winner.

“I forgot who was on the boards but they were kind of tied up and I saw Tanner cutting through the middle,” said Harris. “He made a great play, kind of turned on the jets there going around him and then I couldn’t really see great from the bench because I was changing there so I’d have to see the replay to see how it went in.”

Alex Kerfoot and Nick Bjugstad scored for Arizona (23-30-5), while Connor Ingram stopped 17 shots.

The Coyotes outshot the Canadiens 38-21.

“We had emotion, we had passion, there was a good feeling on the bench,” said coach André Tourigny. “We had 77 per cent of the scoring chances, a lot of quality shots but their goaltender stand tall.

"We could have had a little more traffic in front of him and we didn’t reload property on their goals. It wasn’t a perfect game but overall I don't want to find excuses.”

Tourigny said his team played a disciplined game but credited Montembeault for shutting the door on all three of the Coyotes' power plays.

“Our power play had some good looks,” said Tourigny. “(Nick Schmatlz) had some chances from the slot but I think the goalie made his biggest saves when we were on the power play.”

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Montreal begins a four-game road trip Thursday in Florida.

Arizona plays the third of its five-game road trip at Toronto on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2024.

Pat Hickey, The Canadian Press