VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — J.T. Miller scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and had three assists to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
Miller extended his points streak to 10 games, getting 21 points on seven goals and 14 assists during that span.
Elias Pettersson and Brock Boese scored power-play goal, Travis Hamonic also scored and Bo Horvat added an empty-net goal for Vancouver, which has won three straight and is 8-2-0 in its last 10. Thatcher Demko made 22 saves.
“We have to do that every game,” Miller said. “It’s not going to be perfect all the time. We need to find a way to get two points. We have to be desperate every game.”
Artturi Lehkonen scored twice and had an assist, and Rem Pitlick had a goal and two assists for the Canadiens, who lost for the second time in nine games. Lehkonen has six goals and two assists in his last five games. Sam Montembeault stopped 28 shots.
Miller gave the Canucks a 3-2 lead when he stole the puck from Cole Caufield at the blue line, skated in alone, then wired a wrist shot that beat Montembeault over the glove hand.
“I probably got away with a slash,” said Miller, who has 23 goals and 67 points this season. “I knew whoever the D-man was he would probably beat me to the net. I just tried to let it rip as hard as I could.”
He also assisted on Pettersson’s power-play goal just a few minutes later, making a pretty drop pass.
“All of us want to make the playoffs,” Pettersson said. “When you make the playoffs, you don’t know what can happen. We’re excited for that, but we have to live in the moment, take it day by day, not focus on we have to win this amount of games. We’ve just got to focus on what we can control.”
Pitlick drew the Canadiens within a goal, scoring at 15:35 with Montembeault on the bench for an extra attacker.
“We all thought it was a good game,” Pitlick said. “It was back and forth, and we almost climbed back into it at the end. We’ve been playing really good hockey and I think we’re all very comfortable with our game. We all believe in each other.
“We all understand we can be a really good team, so we’re going to keep pushing forward.”
Lehkonen tied the game at 2 at 14:22 of the second period with his second goal of the night.
The teams scored 54 seconds apart in the first period, with Lehkonen taking a pass from Jake Evans and launching a shot over Demko’s left pad to give Montreal a 1-0 lead
The Montreal fans at Rogers Arena were still cheering when Vancouver tied it at 13:35. Hamonic fired a seeing-eye shot from the point that looked to deflect off a player and past Montembeault.
Vancouver scored just 9 seconds into a power play to take a 2-1 lead in the second. Boeser fired a sharp angle shot that Montembeault blocked. Boeser collected the rebound and put it over the goaltender’s shoulder at 10:34 for his 17th of the season.
NOTES: Vancouver opened a seven-game homestand. ... The Canucks dedicated proceeds from the $1 million 50/50 jackpot to the Ukraine humanitarian crisis appeal through the Red Cross of Canada. ... Former Canadiens star Guy Lafleur, who is battling lung cancer, was named Wednesday to the Order of Hockey in Canada as a Distinguished Honoree for 2022.
Canadiens: Hosts Seattle on Saturday night.
Canucks: Hosts Washington on Friday night.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports