Vancouver Canucks forward Adam Gaudette wasn’t overly concerned that he hadn’t been scoring much this season.
Still, it felt good to snap the scoring slump Monday with an extremely timely goal.
With just 40.5 seconds left on the game clock and the Canucks down 1-0 to the Montreal Canadiens, Gaudette ripped a shot from the left faceoff dot, ringing it off the post and in to knot the score with his third goal of the year.
“I knew if I just stuck with it and did the right things, it would go in eventually,” he said. “So it finally went in, it felt great. And I can’t take my foot off the gas. I’ve got to keep doing what I’ve been doing on and off the ice.”
Gaudette’s goal forced overtime, which failed to resolve the stalemate.
In the shootout, Canucks captain Bo Horvat was the lone player from either side to find the back of the net. His strike beat Canadiens goalie Carey Price stick side and lifted Vancouver to a 2-1 victory.
It’s the second game in a row where the Canucks (12-15-2) have rallied from a deficit to claw out a win. The results have bolstered the team’s confidence, Horvat said.
“We know that we can do it and beat every team,” he said. “It took us a little bit to figure that out and figure out to stick with the process and stick with our game. Obviously we’d like to play with the lead instead of chasing, but for us to stick it out and do it again tonight definitely shows the character.”
A sloppy line change early in the first period nearly cost the Canucks the win Monday.
Vancouver was called for too-many men, giving Montreal (11-6-7) a power play. Defenceman Jeff Petry capitalized, using a screen by Corey Perry in front of the net to sneak a long shot past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko and open the scoring 4:37 in.
The Canadiens were 1-for-2 on the power play Monday and are 5-for-11 in six games since last month’s coaching change.
Dominique Ducharme — who was named interim head coach on Feb. 24, replacing Claude Julien — said capitalizing with the man advantage is key.
“It’s important to take those opportunities and it seems that we don’t get that many a game.,” he said. “We need to be really working hard to get some, so it’s important to get a goal once in awhile.”
Montreal goalie Carey Price has also stepped up his game in recent weeks, and stopped 28 shots Monday.
“(I’m) just playing better,” he said. “I’m not going to give you my technical secrets. So, the guys are playing solid hockey in front of me and letting me see the puck.”
At the other end of the ice, Demko had 29 saves in Monday’s win, including a stop on a Joel Armia breakaway midway through the second frame that careened wide of the net.
The Vancouver netminder wasn’t sure whether he got a piece of the shot, but said keeping it out was key to earning the win.
“It looked like (Price) was playing really well and when he’s on his game, he’s tough to beat,” Demko said. “So if they get another one, it’s probably a tougher game to come back into, obviously.”
Monday’s result extends Vancouver’s win streak to three games after the team notched just two wins in February.
Coach Travis Green said the latest victory is a big one for his group’s confidence.
“You’re always learning lessons along the way. I think in the past, we’ve kind of got away from our game, from the type of game we need to play,” he said.
“I thought the last few games, we’ve just stuck with it and stayed persistent with our game, had purpose to how we wanted to play and believed in it the whole way.”
The Canucks and Canadiens will battle again in Vancouver on Wednesday.
NOTES: Vancouver defenceman Jordie Benn was injured early in the third period and did not return. … Demko was named the NHL’s second start of the week earlier on Monday. He posted a 3-0-0 record last week with a 1.00 goals-against average and .969 save percentage. … Montreal equipment manager Pierre Gervais worked his 3,000th game. An announcement of the feat elicited stick taps from both teams.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021.