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SCOREBOARD

Seguin scores twice as Stars hold off Canadiens

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MONTREAL — Matt Duchene didn't divulge the Dallas Stars' strategy on Saturday afternoon.

He didn't have to.

It was clear as day as Tyler Seguin scored twice off Duchene's assists in front of the net in a 3-2 Dallas win over the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

"We had a game plan. I won't say what it is, but we knew what was open,” Duchene said. “Every system's got its weaknesses."

Thomas Harley also scored for Dallas (32-14-6), while Mason Marchment pitched in with two assists of his own. Jake Oettinger made 18 saves after sitting out a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Winners of 10 of their last 14 games, the Central Division-leading Stars closed out a post-all-star weekend road trip with a 2-1-0 record.

"We knew that tonight, at the end of a trip, this is either going to be a good trip … or a poor trip,” Dallas head coach Pete DeBoer said. “So there was some desperation to our game and I think that showed and in some of the areas that we had success.”

Nick Suzuki — with a goal and an assist — and Juraj Slafkovsky replied for Montreal (21-22-8), and Mike Matheson had two assists.

Cole Caufield extended his point streak to a career-high 11 games with a helper on Suzuki’s goal, joining Max Domi (2018-19) and Pierre Turgeon (1994-95) as the only Canadiens to do so in the last 30 years.

Sam Montembeault stopped 35 shots in his second straight start.

“We came out really good out of the gate,” Montembeault said. “I think maybe they were better in the second, it’s a veteran team, they work hard.”

Canadiens forward Alex Newhook played his first game since Nov. 30 due to a high ankle sprain. The 23-year-old had three shots and a hit while centring Montreal’s third line.

After a scoreless first period, Montreal opened the scoring 38 seconds into the second when Caufield’s perfectly timed bank pass sent Suzuki on a partial break before the captain rifled a shot over Oettinger’s right shoulder.

A few minutes later, the Canadiens had a 35-second span to forget.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard ran into teammate Joel Armia in the neutral zone and appeared to buckle his right leg in the process.

While Harvey-Pinard struggled to get off the ice and into the locker room, Harley beat Montembeault for his 13th of the season to even the score at 3:51. The Stars gained the lead 24 seconds later as an unchecked Seguin finished off a feed from Duchene in front.

"We kind of picked it up right after that,” Duchene said of Montreal's opening goal. “This team never gets too high or too low, and that was another example of that, they score and we just go bang-bang right away.

"I think from there we were able to take over.”

Montembeault kept the Canadiens in the game as the Stars dominated the shots 21-7 in the period.

Seguin, however, doubled Dallas’ lead with 2:15 remaining off another Duchene feed in front.

Slafkovsky got one back under a minute later, scoring in a third straight game from a sharp angle for his 10th of the season. The 2022 first-overall pick has 16 points in his last 22 games after an underwhelming start to the season.

“Slaf, to me he’s had a consistent progression,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said. “We’re really happy with his progression, not surprised, he works really hard at it."

Jake Evans took a double-minor penalty in the third period, sending Dallas on a four-minute power play with six minutes left in the game.

The Canadiens, however, had the majority of Grade A chances during the penalty kill. Matheson hit the post on a deke to the backhand, while Armia broke in all alone but sailed his shot over the net.

The Stars, despite going 0-for-6 on the power play, held on for the win.

"I thought if we could have found a way to get a power-play goal, we probably put them away earlier than letting them hang around to the end like we did," DeBoer said.

ROY RECALLED

The Canadiens recalled forward Joshua Roy from American Hockey League affiliate Laval after Harvey-Pinard left the game with a lower-body injury and did not return. The club said Harvey-Pinard would undergo further evaluation.

Roy, 20, has one goal and one assist in six NHL games this season. The Saint-Georges-De-Beauce, Que., native has 13 goals and 19 assists in 40 AHL outings.

UP NEXT

Canadiens: Jake Allen starts as Montreal hosts the St. Louis Blues in the second game of a back-to-back Sunday.

Stars: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2024.