MONTREAL (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek had two goals and Brandon Duhaime scored the tiebreaker in the second period and added an assist, leading the Minnesota Wild to a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Duhaime has family in Montreal on his mother’s side. She, along with several cousins were at the Bell Centre for the game.
“For me personally, I’m just trying to take it as another game and not getting too high, too low and nothing like that,” Duhaime said. “But for them it’s obviously really special to come in there. Hometown and, you know, get a big team win like we did.”
Eriksson Ek scored in the first period and added an empty-netter with 30 seconds left in the third. Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 26 saves for the Wild.
“We talked to the guys about embracing the way that we played here tonight. That’s how we have to play a gritty, determined game,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We did a lot of good things in the areas that we haven’t done good things as far as defending and managing the puck very well.”
The Wild (2-3-1) have recorded five points out of a possible six in their last three games.
“It’s been better in the past three games, of course,” Wild center Frederick Gaudreau said. “We’re not gonna lie, we didn’t want to start 0-3 and it’s been better lately. But I think what we’ve got to focus on is just doing the right things and the results, they’ll come when we do the right things.”
Cole Caufield scored his fifth goal of the season for Montreal. Jake Allen had 28 saves on 30 shots.
“We could have easily scored in that third period. We had a lot of chances, we could have tied the game, we could have won it,” Canadiens center Nick Suzuki said. “There’s little things that we want to clean up in the defensive zone but where our group is at, it’s a good spot. Once we get the power play going it’ll help win more games.”
During a 3-on-1 rush Duhaime’s shot bounced off Allen and the rebound went off the boards to the side of the net. Eriksson Ek was there to push the puck behind Allen six minutes into the first period.
Caufield’s shot from the right side was inside the near post just over a minute into the second, tying the game.
But the Wild moved ahead when Duhaime took a pass from Frederick Gaudreau and beat Allen, scoring the go-ahead goal at 12:48.
The goal gave Duhaime a score in consecutive games for the first time in his career after the 25-year-old scored on Saturday at Boston.
Mike Hoffman was awarded a penalty shot about six minutes into the third period and the shot was blocked by Fleury.
“For many years I’ve had so many losses it’s like I still feel like I’m catching up, but it feels great,” Fleury said. “I don’t have many games left here in Montreal so I try to make the most out of it. I try to have the most fun, as much as I can and that’s what I did.”
Fleury played in his 944th game, moving into sole possession of sixth place on the NHL’s all-time list for games by a goaltender. … Each team took two penalties apiece and both power plays finished 0 for 3.
Wild: At Ottawa on Thursday night in the third of a five-game trip.
Canadiens: At Buffalo on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game trip.
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