CHICAGO (AP) Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki and David Savard each had a goal and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Friday night.

Mitchell Stephens and Josh Anderson also scored for Montreal, which trailed 2-0 early in the second period. Cayden Primeau made 19 saves.

With their second win over the Blackhawks this season, the Canadiens roll into the NHL’s Christmas break with points in five straight games (3-0-2).

“We weren't happy with our start for sure,” said Suzuki, who scored his team-leading 10th goal. “We know that style that we play and that we can come back in games just with our relentlessness and hunting on the forecheck.

“Turn a lot of pucks over, got a lot of chances and (Stephens) got us started with a big tip.”

Montreal coach Martin St. Louis credited his players' direct, physical style with allowing them to take charge.

“We just got back to playing our game so to speak,” St. Louis said. “I thought we had some big plays, some big goals at key times that gave us some life, and I thought we played an excellent third period.”

Stephens started Montreal's comeback with his first goal since March 3, 2020, for Tampa Bay against Boston. Anderson and Slafkovsky scored 2:31 apart late in the middle frame to put the Canadiens ahead.

“I don't know if they let us back in or if it was just good play from us," Suzuki said.

Savard added an empty-netter with 1:56 left.

Ryan Donato scored for a second straight game and Jason Dickinson fired in a career-high 10th goal, but the last-place Blackhawks once again failed to protect a lead.

NHL rookie scoring leader Connor Bedard set up Donato's goal and has five assists in his last three games. Petr Mrazek made 23 saves in his third straight start.

“They pushed and we didn’t,” Dickinson said. "I felt like they got a couple goals and then we sat back and maybe got on our heels, and then the third period we just didn’t really do anything."

Sam Montembeault, who made 20 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss at Minnesota on Thursday, backed up Primeau. Jake Allen, reportedly on the trading block, was the healthy scratch in Montreal’s goalie trio.

Blackhawks forward Colin Blackwell, playing in just his second game since hernia surgery in March, set up Dickinson’s goal with a spinning play in the slot and hit the post on a short-handed breakaway in the first period.

The Blackhawks were buoyed by the return of defensemen Kevin Korchinski and Jarred Tinordi.

It was the first game for the 19-year-old Korchinski since Dec. 7. His father, Larry, died, and the rookie was away from the team to spend time with his family.

The rugged 31-year-old Tinordi was activated from injured reserve after missing six games with a concussion. In a corresponding move, Chicago assigned defensemen Wyatt Kaiser and Filip Roos to Rockford of the AHL.

Chicago remained without defensemen Seth Jones and rookie Alex Vlasic. Both have shoulder injuries.

Donato opened the scoring with 3:04 left in the first. Bedard twisted away from coverage on the left boards and passed in the slot to Donato, who wristed a shot under Primeau’s glove.

Set up by Blackwell, a trailing Dickinson rifled in a shot 3:43 into the second give Chicago a 2-0 lead.

But Chicago coach Luke Richardson said his team didn't play a “smart game" and seemed “unaware” at times starting in the middle frame.

“Just the battle level for them in that second period, they just ramped it up and we played on the outside,” Richardson said.

Stephens got Montreal on the board at 4:20, tipping in Mike Matheson’s shot from the right point.

Anderson tied it with 4:58 left in the second. He cruised down the crease unscathed and took a feed from Sean Monahan as the Blackhawks' coverage got crossed up.

Slafkovsky put the Canadiens ahead 3-2 with his second goal in two games. He twisted away from defenseman Isaak Phillips at the edge of the crease and tucked in a loose rebound.


Canadiens: At Carolina on Thursday.

Blackhawks: At St. Louis on Saturday.



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