Canadiens’ early strikes enough to claw past sluggish Coyotes

Carey Price stopped 33 shots, Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber scored in the opening minute of the first two periods, and the Montreal Canadiens rolled to a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Montreal arrived in the desert early for an extra day of practice and acclimation after beating Toronto 5-2 on Saturday.

The Canadiens had an extra jump early, scoring on their first shift in each of the first two periods. Jonathan Drouin added his third goal in two games, Nick Cousins also scored and Price was superb as usual against Arizona, improving to 12-1 all-time.

Jakob Chychrun scored for the Coyotes and Antti Raanta made 32 saves, giving up one goal when his skate blade fell off.

The Coyotes had a successful road trip back East, winning three of four, but didn’t get back from Buffalo until Tuesday.

Coyotes slow to start

Arizona was sluggish in its first home game in 11 days, giving up Gallagher’s goal and plenty of pressure by the Canadiens.

The Coyotes were better late in the opening period, but got a bad break early in the second when Raanta’s skate blade broke off. Weber scored from near the blue line as Arizona’s goalie desperately tried diving back as his blade lay on the ice.

Cousins made it 3-0 early in the third period, one-timing a nifty pass through the crease by Nick Suzuki.

Chychrun scored on a similar feed from Phil Kessel.

Drouin was credited with a goal when Coyotes defenceman Jason Demers accidentally swiped the puck into his own net on a mishit shot.

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