MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens‘ inability to execute on the power play came back to haunt them.
The Canadiens blew an early two-goal lead and the Arizona Coyotes stormed all the way back to win 3-2 on Monday night, snapping Montreal’s three-game winning streak.
They went 0 for 6 with the man advantage, including a full two-minute 5-on-3 power play at the end of the first period.
"We didn’t play well enough to win," said Brendan Gallagher, who scored his 19th of the year. "There’s no secret to that. We were pretty much sloppy. On the power play, our job is to score. And if you’re not going to score, you need to build momentum.
"We didn’t do that. We got the result we deserved."
The Canadiens (27-24-7) were up 2-1 when Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s four-minute high-sticking penalty and Derek Stepan’s tripping call led to a 5-on-3 to end the first and start the second. Montreal only managed two shots on Antti Raanta.
Arizona (28-23-7) took another two minor penalties in the second — Clayton Keller for delay of game and Carl Soderberg for high sticking. This time, the Canadiens did not fire a single puck on Raanta.
"We would have needed to score in those moments," said Montreal coach Claude Julien. "It would have been a crucial goal. Those are things that come back to bite you. That’s what happened tonight.
"We would have needed much better chances on the power play, especially on that 5-on-3."
Despite Montreal’s power-play opportunities, the Coyotes outshot them 17-3 in the second period. Arizona was rewarded with Taylor Hall’s equalizer at 16:36, a one-timer from Christian Dvorak on a bad turnover by Jeff Petry in his own zone.
"There’s 5-on-3s and then there’s full two-minute 5-on-3s with a bit of power play time hanging on at the end," said Hall, who has 20 points in 23 games since joining Arizona. "Good job by our killers. Raanta did a fantastic job.
"We forced the issue down the ice and disrupted their breakout. That was why they couldn’t get pucks to the middle."
That set the stage for Jakob Chychrun‘s power-play winner with exactly 1:00 remaining on the clock in the third, a slap shot from the point that deflected off Artturi Lehkonen and past Carey Price.
The Coyotes snapped a two-game losing skid and a six-game winless streak on the road.
It was a dream start for the Canadiens, who scored twice on four shots on Raanta inside two minutes in an end-to-end first period.
It took just 51 seconds for Jake Evans to find the back of the net for his first NHL goal when he jumped on Nick Cousins’ rebound. The 23-year-old made his NHL debut last week.
Gallagher doubled the lead a minute later, his fourth goal since returning from a head injury on Jan. 9. The winger’s initial shot was blocked by defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson but he adeptly jumped on his own rebound.
Before Montreal could run away with things, the visitors cut the deficit through Stepan’s ninth of the year at 5:08 of the first. Price, who stopped 31-of-34 shots in defeat, whiffed on the wrist shot.
"It was a good start in our building," said Jonathan Drouin. "I think we just needed to build off that and keep going for three periods. (In the second), they had momentum and we weren’t skating."
The Canadiens remain five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Leafs have two games in hand.
Notes: Raanta made 26 saves. â€¦ Phillip Danault took a puck to the mouth in the second. He left the game and did not return. â€¦ Shea Weber missed a third straight game with a lower-body injury. â€¦ Super Bowl champion Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs was at Bell Centre.