Montreal Canadiens' Ilya Kovalchuk (17) celebrates with teammates Tomas Tatar (90), Shea Weber (6) and Phillip Danault (24) after scoring against the Vegas Golden Knights during first-period NHL hockey game action in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Tatar scores in shootout, Canadiens beat Vegas 5-4

January 18, 2020 - 10:33 pm

MONTREAL (AP) — Tomas Tatar scored in the fourth round of a shootout as the Montreal Canadiens held on for a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night.

Nick Cousins scored twice, and Ilya Kovalchuk and Joel Armia each scored once for the Canadiens (22-21-7), who have won four of their last five games. Carey Price made 31 saves for his fourth consecutive victory.

Jonathan Marchessault, Paul Stastny, Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith scored for the Golden Knights (25-20-6) in their second game under new coach Peter DeBoer. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of 32 shots.

Down 4-2, Vegas scored twice in the game’s final two minutes to force overtime with Fleury on the bench for an extra skater.

Pacioretty scored against his former team with a shot from the blue line through traffic with 1:57 remaining.

Smith scored the equalizer with eight seconds on the clock when he tipped Stastny’s shot past Price. The Canadiens goaltender smashed his stick against the goalpost in anger.

Fleury made highlight-reel saves on Phillip Danault and Kovalchuk on odd-man rushes in overtime to force the shootout, where Kovalchuk and Tatar scored.

Montreal took a commanding 3-0 lead on nine shots after the first 20 minutes.

The Canadiens went ahead at 5:51 on Cousins’ sixth of the year. Weise sent a backhand pass from behind the net to Cousins, who slid the puck under Fleury’s outstretched pad.

Kovalchuk was coming off a two-goal performance in Montreal’s 4-1 victory in Philadelphia on Thursday, and the 36-year-old scored his fourth in a Canadiens uniform at 12:33. Fleury denied Kovalchuk’s initial shot in close but he couldn’t stop the Russian’s second effort.

The goal was Kovalchuk’s first at the Bell Centre since 2011. His first three goals since joining Montreal came on the road.

The Canadiens went up 3-0 when Armia deflected Brett Kulak’s shot and beat Fleury between the pads for his career-high 13th of the season.

The Golden Knights scored twice in the second period. Unguarded, Marchessault tallied from the slot on a pass from Smith from behind the net at 9:08.

Ben Chiarot and Armia were unable to clear their crease and the veteran Stastny jammed a loose puck past Price to make it 3-2 at 14:47.

Cousins scored his second of the game on a 2-on-1 with Weise at 9:40 of the third to give Montreal a 4-2 advantage. Fleury overcommitted to the shot, and Weise passed to Cousins for his seventh of the season.

Notes: The Golden Knights are 1-4-1 in their last six games. … Former Canadiens captain Pacioretty remains winless against his former team (0-1-2). … This was the Canadiens’ last game ahead of their bye week. ... Montreal is 10-12-4 at home.

UP NEXT

Vegas: Plays at Carolina on Jan. 31.

Montreal: Hosts Washington on Monday, Jan. 27.

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