Sean Monahan produced his first multi-goal game of the season and the Calgary Flames won their second straight under new coach Darryl Sutter in a 3-1 victory Saturday over the visiting Montreal Canadiens.
Monahan scored twice for Calgary (13-12-3), which strung together two wins in a row for the first time in a month.
“We’re a lot sharper right now,” Monahan said. “We’re playing together. When you’re playing faster and moving your feet, it’s going to generate a lot more looks and I think that’s what we’re getting right now.”
Mikael Backlund also scored and Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves for the win. Monahan scored the 200th and 201st goals of his career.
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“That’s pretty cool,” the 26-year-old centre said. “It’s special when you win and you have a milestone, so it’s something I’ll probably remember here for a little bit.”
Darryl Sutter is 2-0-0 since taking over as head coach for Geoff Ward, who was fired March 4.
“We’ve made some progress in terms of how we wanted to play,” Sutter said.
Defenceman Jeff Petry scored for Montreal (12-8-7) with Carey Price stopping 33 shots in the loss.
Petry leads all NHL defencemen in goals with 11.
Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme is 3-3-3 since Claude Julien was sacked Feb. 24.
At the halfway point of their shortened season, the Flames were two points back of Montreal, which held down the fourth and final playoff spot in the all-Canadian North Division.
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‘The Canadiens have a game in hand on Calgary.
The Flames had doubled the tired Habs 2-1 at the Saddledome on Thursday. Montreal was playing its third road game in four nights and second in less than 24 hours.
The Canadiens were more rested Saturday for the fourth of nine meetings with Calgary this season, as was Price who didn’t play in Thursday’s loss.
But the Flames dominated the opening period outshooting the visitors 16-6 and leading 2-0 heading into the second.
“I believe the guys did everything they needed to do to be ready,” Ducharme said. “So I was I was a little bit surprised to see how we were just not moving our feet.”
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Price left his net with over four minutes remaining in regulation for an extra attacker.
The puck slipped under Markstrom in a goalmouth scramble, but officials ruled Montreal’s Josh Anderson kicked it in.
Petry scored Montreal’s lone goal during a 4-on-4 at 14:20 of the second period.
Jonathan Drouin in the slot dished the puck to the defenceman, who swept it between the goalpost and Markstrom’s right arm.
Backlund produced Calgary’s third goal at 7:20. Andrew Mangiapane fought off Petry behind the net and fed Backlund just outside Price’s crease.
Officials waved off a Johnny Gaudreau goal early in the period stating the Flames winger kicked the puck into Montreal’s net.
Monahan scored his second of the first period in a goalmouth scramble. He kept his feet in a pileup of bodies and tapped the airborne puck by Price for a power-play goal at 13:56.
With teammate Brett Ritchie clearing space behind Montreal’s net, Monahan skated the puck out, spun and fired it over Price’s glove at 5:18.
Calgary allowed a combined 43 shots on Markstrom in the two wins over the Habs.
“I think five-on-five we were pretty cohesive and stuck to how we want to play pretty well,” Sutter said.
“I think there’s times during the game, we have a handful of guys that have to break some habits, if possible.”
The Canadiens head to Winnipeg for games Monday and Wednesday against the Jets. The Flames are at home to the Edmonton Oilers those same days.