Kotkaniemi lifts Canadiens over Canucks 5-1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Jesper Kotkaniemi had a goal and an assist to lead the Montreal Canadiens over the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 Wednesday night.

Corey Perry, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry and Phillip Danault also scored for the Canadiens, and Tyler Toffoli had two assists.

Brock Boeser had the lone goal for Vancouver with a rocket during a second-period power play.

Carey Price had 23 saves for the Canadiens and Thatcher Demko stopped 40 of 45 shots for Vancouver.

Interim coach Dominique Ducharme said Wednesday’s performance was the best he’s seen from the Canadiens since he took over the bench on Feb. 24.

“We were relentless in what we were doing on both sides,” he said. “We want to be that way in all situations, being a block of five with and without the puck and really, you need to work, you need a lot of engagement for that and that’s what we saw tonight. That’s the way we want to be playing.”

The result gives Montreal the edge in the two-game series after Vancouver took a 2-1 shootout win on Monday.

“I don’t know if we were at our best there,” Demko said. “It seemed like Montreal was jumping and had a little bit of a quicker step. But it is what it is.”

It also snaps a three-game winning streak for the Canucks, who sit in fifth place in the all-Canadian North Division, trailing the Habs by five points.

NOTES: J.T. Miller and Ben Chiarot dropped the gloves in a short tilt midway through the first period. Both were handed five-minute penalties for fighting, and Chiarot did not return to the game. … Toffoli skated in his 550th game. The center is second in scoring for the Canadiens, with 23 points (15 goals, eight assists) this season.

UP NEXT

Canadiens: Visit the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

Canucks: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

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