MONTREAL (AP) — Lars Eller scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 Saturday night.
Brendan Gallagher, Jiri Sekac and Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal, and Carey Price stopped 30 shots.READ MORE: Firefighters Hurt By Falling Porch During Minneapolis House Fire
Jason Pominville scored for Minnesota and Darcy Kuemper had 27 saves.
With the score tied 1-1, Eller gave Montreal the lead for good with 50 seconds left in the second period, beating Kuemper glove side with a screened snap shot from the faceoff circle. The goal came just inches from the spot where Gallagher had scored earlier in the period.
The Canadiens beat Minnesota for the fifth time in six meetings in Montreal.
Before the game, the Canadiens retired defenseman Guy Lapointe’s No. 5. Lapointe played 14 seasons with Montreal between 1968 and 1982 before brief stints with St. Louis and Boston.
After a scoreless first period that saw the Wild come close to beating Price on several occasions, the Canadiens got on the board midway through the second.
Coming down the wing with speed, Gallagher ripped a slap shot to the roof of the net at 9:26, beating Kuemper for his first point in his last nine games.READ MORE: Willis' 3 Keeps Gopher Men Unbeaten, Beating Bulldogs 81-76
Pominville tied it with 5:01 left in the period, just minutes after Sekac came close to doubling Montreal’s lead.
Following a bad giveaway by Andrei Markov at the blue line, former Canadiens star Thomas Vanek skated into the offensive zone on an odd-man rush, and found Pominville alone at the side of the net for the easy tap-in.
Vanek, in his first return to Montreal since signing a three-year deal with Minnesota in the offseason, finished the game with one point in 17:04. The Austrian played 29 games with the Canadiens last year.
Sekac was rewarded for a solid game with his second goal of the season at 4:46 of the third, a poke-in past a helpless Kuemper after Nino Niederreiter pushed Brandon Prust onto the Wild goalie.
Seconds after David Desharnais hit the crossbar on a 2-on-1 rush, Pacioretty put the game out of the Wild’s reach with his team-leading sixth of the season at 6:04.
NOTES: Montreal improved to 4-0 when scoring first. … Canadiens LW Rene Bourque was a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game. With LW Michael Bournival out injured (shoulder), Sekac dressed after missing the last seven games. … Minnesota points leader Zach Parise (upper-body injury) did not travel to Montreal.MORE NEWS: First Major Snowfall Brings Avalanche Of Wintery Pics