The Canadian grabbed the necklace impeccably after the break of the All-Star game, beating the Buffalo Sabers 5-2 on Tuesday.
Max Pacioretty, with his 22nd, 23rd and 24th goals of the season, David Desharnais and Paul Byron hit the target for the Canadian (30-14-7). Phillip Danault and Alexander Radulov collected two grants each. Carey Price was effective with 37 stops.
Desharnais, Andrei Markov and Greg Pateryn were returning to the game. Desharnais and Pateryn had missed the last 24 games, while Markov had missed the last 17 games of the Habs.
Nikita Nesterov also made her debut with the Canadian. Acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning last Thursday, the Russian defender appeared to Markov’s right and even got a chance to score in the second period.
On the other hand, defender Jeff Petry was absent, he was annoyed by a virus.
Dmitry Kulikov and Brian Gionta scored for the Sabers (20-20-9) when the result was no longer in doubt. Robin Lehner did not have a great night in front of the net, he granted five goals out of 35 throws.
The Canadian will play his next game on Thursday when he visits the Philadelphia Flyers.
In addition to a sequence where each of the two teams took advantage of a numerical advantage, the Canadian quickly won in the game thanks to his speed and his combativity in the offensive zone with equal forces. The Habs had the advantage of 17-10 shots in the first period and the only real opportunity of the Sabers came from the stick of Evander Kane. End only before Price after a reversal of Greg Pateryn to his blue line, Kane saw his shot deviated from Price’s mitten and missed the target.
The Canadian took advantage of the many returns Lehner made to knock on the door several times and he finally opened the scoring with 2:33 to go in the first twenty. Pacioretty completed a two-on-one run with Radulov.
The Habs did not drop the pace in the second period and it was again the first trio that hit, at 7:48. Behind the net, Danault joined Radulov a few yards away and the Russian immediately put in front of Pacioretty, alone in the enclave. The captain’s firing at the helm slipped against Lehner’s gauntlet, but was still behind the goal line.
Desharnais greeted his return to the game four minutes later after Sven Andrighetto intercepted a pass from defender Cody Franson out of the area. Desharnais took advantage of the space in front of him to step forward and take his time to unhook a perfect wrist shot in the dormer. It was his fourth goal this season.
Byron struck hard on the Sabers by increasing the gap to 4-0 with 1:22 in the second. Another change of Franson out of zone allowed the Tricolore to start a splendid set of passes. The puck went from Artturi Lehkonen to Tomas Plekanec to Andrei Markov in Byron, who eventually fired and beat Lehner for his 14th goal of the season.
Pacioretty completed his second hat-trick of the season, his sixth career, after 3:24 in the third period when Lehner could not control Radulov’s attempt after he had bypassed the net.
Kulikov deprived Price of a white game by surprising him from the point with 3:59 to flow on the dial. Gionta then turned on power play with 2:12 to do.