PITTSBURGH — So much for Tristan Jarry‘s brilliant play. Maybe the talk about Jarry pushing Matt Murray as Pittsburgh’s top goaltender, too. At least for now.
Jarry’s three-week surge that peaked with a franchise-record scoreless streak came to a crashing halt on Tuesday, as the Montreal Canadiens pounced on Jarry and the sloppy Penguins in a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night.
Tomas Tatar‘s power-play goal 12:24 into the second period ended Jarry’s shutout run at 177:15. Any chance at starting another one vanished quickly. Joel Armia beat Jarry less than four minutes later to put the Canadiens in front to stay and Shea Weber’s pretty wrap-around with just 15 seconds left in the second gave Carey Price more than enough breathing room as Montreal won for just the fourth time in its last 12 meetings with the Penguins.
"They put a lot of pressure on us," said Jarry, who finished with 22 saves while losing for just the second time in his last eight starts. "They’re a hard team. They get pucks to the net. They shoot from everywhere and I think it was one of those things where we had to be ready for it. We had to be ready at all times and we had to make sure we can handle their pressure."
The Penguins couldn’t during a dominant second period by the Canadiens that gave them their third victory in four games following an eight-game winless streak. Price allowed Jake Guentzel’s 17th goal just 2:59 into the first but otherwise outplayed Jarry, stopping 33 shots and keeping the Penguins in check during a third-period push.
"When Carey is solid and making big saves and calm and making things look easy it certainly helps the confidence of anybody else in front of him," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said.
That’s the way it’s been for Jarry recently. He began the night leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage behind back-to-back shutouts against St. Louis and Arizona last week. A point-blank stop on Nick Cousins early in the second period helped Jarry slip past the Tomas Vokoun’s shutout mark of 173:06 set in 2013, but Jarry’s luck ran out shortly after he surpassed Vokoun in the team record book.
Some sloppy play in front of Jarry helped.
Pittsburgh was on the penalty kill in the second period following a slashing call against Evgeni Malkin when defenceman John Marino and forward Brandon Tanev both whiffed on clearing attempts. Montreal’s Phillip Danault grabbed the loose puck and slipped a pass to Brendan Gallagher to set up a two-on-none. Gallagher set up Tatar, who beat Jarry to the short side, the first goal Jarry allowed since the second period of a loss to Columbus on Nov. 29.
"I think we got our legs back as the game went along," Tatar said. "We played really structured. We can play this way, we can win a lot of games."
Jarry’s attempt at putting together another scoreless run didn’t last long. Armia flipped a puck up the side boards, batted down Pittsburgh defenceman Kris Letang’s clearing attempt then raced around Letang before stuffing it by Jarry to give Montreal the lead 16:17 into the second.
"I thought we got outplayed in the second period," Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. "Give Montreal credit. They played well. But I don’t think we helped ourselves either. We made some poor decisions. We weren’t strong enough on pucks and as a result we didn’t control the period like we’re capable of."
Weber followed just before the end of the period with the 213th goal of his career, and perhaps one of slickest. The veteran defenceman broke down the left side, faked a shot then raced behind the net for a wrap-around score with 15 seconds left in the period that seemed to sap the energy out of the Penguins.
Asked when was the last time he put together a goal like that, Weber joked it was probably while playing a video game. Gallagher’s empty-net goal with 1:39 remaining snapped Pittsburgh’s three-game winning streak.
NOTES: Jarry stopped 82 straight shots during his shutout streak, which is the longest in the NHL this season. … Montreal F Jesperi Kotkaniemi missed his second straight game due to a concussion. … Pittsburgh fell to 7-4-3 without captain Sidney Crosby, who remains sidelined while recovering from sports hernia surgery. … The Canadiens went 1 for 1 on the power play. The Penguins were 0 for 1. … Guentzel has scored 11 of his 17 goals at home, fourth-most in the NHL.
Canadiens: Welcome Ottawa on Wednesday. The Senators won the first meeting of the season 2-1 on Nov. 20.
Penguins: Host Columbus on Thursday. Pittsburgh is 1-1-0 against its Metropolitan Division rival so far this season.