Fleischmann leads Canadiens over Jets 5-1
MONTREAL (AP) — It doesn’t matter who is in goal for the Montreal Canadiens with the offense taking care of business on the other end of the ice.
Tomas Fleischmann scored twice and added an assist and David Desharnais had a goal and two assists to lift the Canadiens to a 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.
It marked the 12th time in 13 games this season that Montreal (11-2-0) has scored at least three goals in a game and the sixth time it has scored at least four.
“Any goalie isn’t going to complain about the team scoring goals,” said rookie goaltender Mike Condon, who made 18 saves for his fourth win in four starts. “We play good defensively and that translates into offense. I’m very fortunate for that and it’s very fun to watch.”
Condon was the unexpected starter after it was announced Sunday morning that Carey Price would miss the next week with a lower-body injury.
“I’m not going to try and be Carey. I don’t think anyone can,” the 25-year-old Condon said. “I’m just going to try and keep the spot warm for him.”
The Jets couldn’t generate much against the Canadiens and saw their two-game winning streak snapped.
“We weren’t very good,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “They were really good. I can’t tell you if they were really good because we were really bad or vice versa. We just didn’t have any jump, and that’s it.”
Paul Byron’s second short-handed breakaway goal in two games got the offense going for Montreal, which remains unbeaten at home this season (5-0).
Jeff Petry stopped a Winnipeg entry into the Canadiens’ end, allowing Torrey Mitchell to get the puck up the ice. The speedy Byron beat out Andrew Ladd at the Jets’ blue line and skated in alone before deking Hutchison and beating him glove side at 6:34 of the first period.
Fleischmann made it 2-0 with 3:34 remaining. Desharnais carried the puck into the Jets’ zone along the right side and held off a defender as he cut in front. Hutchison made the save on Desharnais’ shot but Fleischmann picked up the rebound and tucked it past the goalie’s left side.
Fleischmann scored his second of the night just 35 seconds into the second period. Quick puck movement got the puck out of the Canadiens’ end and up to the winger, whose snap shot from the right circle beat Hutchison.
“Just pretty good support on the ice,” Fleischmann said of his line’s success, picking up where it left off after a seven-point night in Calgary on Friday. “We help each other. It’s a simple formula but it works for us.”
Desharnais extended Montreal’s lead 2 1/2 minutes later when a clearing attempt by Tyler Myers developed into a turnover in the Canadiens’ favor. Desharnais’ shot from just outside the circle was stopped by Hutchison but the diminutive center picked up the loose puck and roofed it just under the crossbar.
That chased Hutchison after he allowed four goals on nine shots.
“We just weren’t ready, we got behind pretty quick in the game, just seemed like we were fighting the puck all night and couldn’t get anything going consistently offensively,” Hutchison said.
The Jets had some of their best chances late in the second but couldn’t connect. First, a shot hit the post and bounced out, followed by Condon’s save on rookie Nikolaj Ehlers. And after Pavelec denied Mitchell with a big save, Condon stopped Blake Wheeler.
“Sometimes there are breakdowns and it’s my job to be there,” Condon said. “You’re supposed to make the saves you can and some that you shouldn’t. That’s the job of a goalie and I was very fortunate to make those saves.”
Eller scored his first goal in four games on the power play with 2:09 remaining in the second when he redirected Andrei Markov’s shot with his skate to make it 5-0.
Chris Thorburn broke Condon’s shutout bid with 6:03 left.
NOTES: The Canadiens scratched RW Alexander Semin, D Jarred Tinordi and D Greg Pateryn. ... Montreal G Carey Price missed his first game after being placed on injured reserved retroactive to Thursday, following an injury sustained against the Oilers in Edmonton. ... The Jets scratched C Andrew Copp, D Paul Postma and D Adam Pardy. ... Montreal D Nathan Beaulieu played in his 100th NHL game.