Tyler Toffoli scored the game-winning goal and goaltender Jake Allen made 21 saves to give the visiting Montreal Canadiens a crucial 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday.
Shea Weber also scored for the Canadiens (21-17-9, 51 points), who snapped a two-game losing skid and gained some breathing room from the Flames (21-24-3, 45 points) in the chase for fourth place in the North Division standings.
The top four teams in the division advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Elias Lindholm scored Calgary’s lone goal while goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 22 shots for the Flames.
With the score tied late in the second period of the tight-checking affair, Toffoli ran his goal-scoring streak to four games when he buried a rebound opportunity seconds after Markstrom made a diving save. Toffoli, who reached the 25-goal mark for the season, has scored five times in his last four games against Calgary.
The closest the hosts came to an equalizer was an Andrew Mangiapane deflection midway through the third period that hit the post.
The Flames won six of the nine meetings this season, but this defeat may be the most crushing to their playoff hopes. Calgary won the first two games in this three-game set but was in dire need of a sweep. The Canadiens have nine games left in the regular season.
The clubs traded power-play goals just over two minutes apart in the opening frame.
During a five-on-three man-advantage, Weber snapped a 21-game goal scoring drought when he unloaded a rocket from the top of the right circle to open the scoring just before the midway point of the opening period.
Lindholm replied with this sixth goal in eight games shortly after. He was set up at the bottom of the right circle and received a cross-ice pass from Johnny Gaudreau before quickly ripping a high shot on the mark. With the assist, Gaudreau’s point streak is up to five games (2-4-6).
Prior to the game, the Flames announced defenseman Noah Hanifin would have season-ending shoulder surgery. Nikita Nesterov took his place in the lineup.
Cole Caufield, Montreal’s 2019 first-round pick who won the 2021 Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA after netting 30 goals at the University of Wisconsin, made his NHL debut.
–Field Level Media