Allen makes 42 saves as Canadiens come back to beat Jets 4-3 in shootout
MONTREAL — The Winnipeg Jets were happy with their performance on Saturday night, but Montreal Canadiens netminder Jake Allen was better.
Allen made 42 saves as the Canadiens erased a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Jets 4-3 in a shootout.
Montreal captain Nick Suzuki scored to open the shootout and Allen shut the door the rest of the way after a scoreless back-and-forth overtime period.
“We had more than enough chances to bury and get that fourth one, we had a power play at the end of the third too,” said Jets defenceman Brendan Dillon. “I think the team as a whole is feeling good about our game and where it’s at right now.
“We found a way to get a point tonight, but frustrating we didn’t get two.”
Jets interim head coach Scott Arniel gave credit where it was due after the game.
“You know what, we threw out 45 shots and there were legitimate A1 chances that we had, and give the goaltender credit. He made some big stops for them,” said Arniel, filling in for head coach Rick Bowness, who’s on leave from the team after his wife Judy had a seizure Sunday.
“We could’ve blown that one out, maybe made it three or four nothing there. They hung in there and he gave them a chance.”
Allen instead gave credit to the team playing in front of him, including defenceman Kaiden Guhle, who returned from a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury.
While Justin Barron, Sean Monahan and Joel Armia had the goals for Montreal (5-2-1), Guhle pitched in with two assists on top of some stout defence.
Guhle was especially needed after top Canadiens defenceman Mike Matheson left Saturday’s contest after the second period and did not return. The Canadiens announced he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Montreal was already down top-pairing defenceman David Savard for six-to-eight weeks due to a left-hand fracture.
So what does Allen like about Guhle?
“That he’s on my team,” he deadpanned. “He showed tonight that after being out a few games, he looks like a 10-year vet. You lose (Matheson), obviously you’re down (David Savard) and he steps up there to fill the void.
“He plays a lot above his age. He’s got a bright future.”
Guhle wasn’t the only player who drew into the lineup and made an impact.
Armia, making his season debut, evened the score at 3-3 one minute 54 seconds into the third period with a shot on the rush off a pass from Guhle.
The 30-year-old Armia, who played for the Jets from 2015-2018, began the season with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket, producing four goals and an assist in four games.
“It’s great for him. He worked really hard and he comes in, it’s a former team, and he comes in to the lineup and scores a huge goal and gives us a huge boost,” said Monahan. “It’s a credit to him for how dedicated he is to this team.”
Winnipeg stars Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele were held off the scoresheet. Scheifele, who was suspended four games for a hit that injured Canadiens forward Jake Evans in the 2021 playoffs, received boos from the Bell Centre fans every time he touched the puck.
The Jets third line provided much of the offence.
Captain Adam Lowry scored twice, Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist, and Mason Appleton pitched in two helpers for Winnipeg (4-3-1). Backup netminder Laurent Brossoit made 26 saves.
“Unbelievable. Both sides of the puck. I think when those three are out there, good things are gonna happen,” said Dillon of the Jets third line. “They play the right way, they all bring that physicality, they hold on to pucks, they put pucks to the net and crash.
“It’s a simple, simple way they play but it’s definitely effective. It’s nice to see them getting rewarded.”
Winnipeg began the second period on fire with two goals in the first 33 seconds.
Lowry scored his second of the night 15 seconds in, finishing off a sneaky pass from Niederreiter behind the net before tucking the puck past Allen. Niederreiter added to Montreal’s misery 18 seconds later.
Montreal responded with a power-play goal from Monahan, who took a pass from Nick Suzuki in front of the net before going forehand-backhand on Brossoit.
The Canadiens were lucky to be tied after one period thanks to Allen as Winnipeg dominated the shots 18-6.
Lowry opened the scoring on a penalty shot, going five-hole on Allen after Montreal’s Alex Newhook hooked him on a previous breakaway.
Barron evened the scoring 37 seconds later after jumping up in the rush and trickling a shot past Brossoit. It was the defenceman’s third goal in four games.
Brothers Morgan and Justin Barron, the only siblings from Nova Scotia to make the NHL, faced off for the second time of their careers on Saturday.
Morgan, a 24-year-old Jets forward, has two goals and one assist in eight games with Winnipeg this season. Justin, 21, has three goals in five games with the Canadiens.
The family head-to-head is now 2-0 after Justin’s Canadiens also beat Morgan’s Jets 4-1 in their first meeting on Jan. 17.
Winnipeg: Hosts the New York Rangers on Monday.
Montreal: Opens a three-game road trip against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2023.
Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press