The skinny: Michael Ryder scored two goals and added an assist as the Canadiens bounced back from their loss in Philadelphia and defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Staying on top: The win enabled the Canadierns to stay one point ahead of Boston in the Northeast Division but the Bruins, who edged New Jersey 1-0, still hold a game in hand. The Canadiens are three points back of first-place Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference and they hold a game in hand on the idle Penguins.
Returning the favour: Coach Michel Therrien gave goaltender Peter Budaj the opportunity to play in front of family members who are visiting from Slovakia and the veteran backup responded with a solid performance. He made 33 saves as he posted his sixth consecutive win. He has a 6-1-1 record on the season.
P.K. tops the list: Defenceman P.K. Subban struggled on occasion trying to hold the blue line, but he picked up two assists and leads NHL defencemen in goals with 10 and points with 30. One of his assists came on the power play and his 19 power-play points rank second in the NHL, one behind teammate Andrei Markov.
Saved by the whistle: The Jets thought they had a power-play goal to start the third period, but Tobias Enstrom’s shot was waved off because Blake Wheeler was in the crease. The Jets went 0-for-3 on the power play and the Canadiens have gone four games without giving up a power-play goal. Ryder and Brian Gionta scored as the Canadiens were successful on both of their power plays.
Ending the drought: Rookie Alex Galchenyuk scored an insurance goal in the third period, ending an 18-game goal drought. He hadn’t scored since Feb. 23.
Juggling act: A groin injury kept Tomas Plekanec on the sidelines and that prompted some line juggling by Michel Therrien. Lars Eller centred Gionta and Brandon Prust. Galchenyuk was back at centre on the third line with Ryder and Travis Moen. Ryan White returned to the lineup after missing six games with an ankle injury and played on the fourth line with Jeff Halpern and Michael Blunden.
What’s next: First place in the Northeast Division is up for grabs Saturday night when the Boston Bruins visit the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN-690 Radio).
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