Shea Weber provided the entertainment as the Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 Saturday at the Bell Centre.
Tomas Tatar, who is still tied for the team lead in points but has had some penalty issues this season, drops from the first line to the third, while Jonathan Drouin (one of the three players at the top with 13 points) takes his position. Its a move that the team has tried to make work in the past, and now that Drouin is playing more to his capability, the hope is that the winger can find success on the top trio.
Weber set the tone with a couple of power-play goals in the first period. His opening goal was a prime example of hand-eye co-ordination. His original one-timer from beyond the faceoff circle was blocked in front by Matt Roy. He went high in the air and Weber timed his shot just right as he picked up the puck on the short hop and blasted another one-timer past Jonathan Quick.
Liveblog replay: Weber, Habs defeat Kings 3-2 at Bell Centre
Public address announcer Michel Lacroix had just started his announcement of the Weber goal when the Canadiens took a 2-0 lead a mere 15 seconds later. Nate Thompson took a feed from Artturi Lehkonen for his first goal of the season
Weber took advantage of a Kings’ penalty-kill unit that came into the game ranked 30th in the league with a more straightforward effort later in the first period. Drouin gave him a cross-ice pass and he blasted a shot from the left point for his sixth goal of the season. Those were the first power-play goals in five games for the Canadiens, who broke out of a zero-for-12 drought.
This wasn’t the 60-minute effort teams desire, but the first-period outburst was good enough, partly because the Kings aren’t very good.
Los Angeles made it interesting when Blake Lizotte was credited with a goal at 13:04 of the third period when the puck went in off defenceman Brett Kulak’s leg during a goalmouth scramble.
Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber, right, reacts with teammate Jonathan Drouin after scoring a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Eric Bolte / USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles managed only one of a possible six points on their three-game swing through Eastern Canada and returns home with the worst record in the Western Conference. The Canadiens have five points in their last three outings and the win allowed them to slip ahead of Buffalo for third place in the Atlantic Division.
The Canadiens have had their own problems killing penalties. They experienced a bit of a turnaround Thursday in Philadelphia when they were shorthanded six times and didn’t surrender a goal. They killed off the first two penalties Saturday, but Anze Kopitar — the Kings’ $10-million forward — beat Price — the Canadiens $10-million goaltender — on a power play early in the second period. Kopitar had far too much room as he skated into the high slot and converted a pass from Alex Iafallo.
Montreal missed an opportunity to pad its lead when it enjoyed three other power plays in the second period, including a four-minute stretch after Kyle Clifford received a double minor for high-sticking Jeff Petry. There was no urgency to get the puck into the zone and the Canadiens failed to get a shot for the first two minutes of that advantage.
The Canadiens are back at the Bell Centre on Tuesday to play the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN-690 Radio).
5h ago Weber scores twice as Habs beat Kings Defenceman Shea Weber scored two power-play goals as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Saturday. Nate Thompson also scored for the Canadiens (9-5-3). Carey Price made 31 saves. The Canadian Press
Weber scored two power-play goals in the first period and forward Nate Thompson added another as the Montreal Canadiens held on to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Saturday.
“We know we havent been good enough here in the last little while,” Weber said. “We got to take a look in the mirror and weve all got to be better. I thought tonight we had a much better start and obviously you saw what a start can do.”
The victory comes after a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday night, which forced Montreal coach Claude Julien to shake up the lines and defensive pairings before Saturdays game.
The victory was Montreals fifth in its last seven games, while the Kings have one win in their last eight.
“We had a good second, we had a good third,” Kopitar said. “Weve talked about this enough so far. I mean, its been 16 games in. You cant play 40 minutes, or 45, or 55. You got to fight for the full 60.”
Weber opened the scoring near the midway point of the first period. The captain fired a shot from the top of the face-off circle that hit defenceman Matt Roy. As the puck landed back towards Weber, he blasted the puck past Quick for a goal.
“That was a weird one, definitely,” Weber said. “Just waiting for it to come back down. Got lucky on the timing.”
Thompson made it 2-0 for the home team 15 seconds later, scoring his first goal of the season and his first goal against his former team. Thompson joined the Habs from the Kings via trade during the 2018-19 season.
Kopitar scored his teams first of the night at 2:41 of the second period. It was the Kings lone power-play goal on three chances on the night. The Kings would draw within one goal with 6:56 left to play in the third thanks to Lizottes first NHL goal.
“Ive been dreaming about that one for a while,” Lizotte said. “Ive had some good chances (that) havent gone my way but it really feels good to get that one,”
“It was an incredible save,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “Having been out west for my whole career, Ive seen that many times.”