- Associated Press - Sunday, January 7, 2018

MONTREAL (AP) - The Montreal Canadiens hope to build on two straight victories for a push for a playoff spot.

Brendan Gallagher broke a tie midway through the third period, and Carey Price made 34 saves in the Canadiens‘ 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.

Karl Alzner, Alex Galchenyuk, Paul Byron and Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal. The Canadiens were coming off a shootout victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night that snapped a five-game losing streak.

“We’re starting to feel a bit better for ourselves, mentally,” Gallaghe said. “Some pucks went in, which was nice, but the chances have been there of late.”

Gallagher was in the slot to pick up the rebound of Alzner’s shot and beat goalie Anders Nilsson with a high shot. Gallagher hen fed Byron on a rush for a goal with 1:15 left, and Pacioretty added an empty-netter in the final minurte.

“We have a tough grind ahead of us for the rest of the year, but I think we’re all up to the challenge,” Gallagher said. “It’s going to be fun if we can get a few wins and get ourselves back closer and really put some pressure on those teams.”

Daniel Sedin and Michael Del Zotto scored for Vancouver. The Canucks lost in a shootout at Toronto on Saturday night.

“It’s not an excuse - teams play back to back all year,” said Canucks forward Sam Gagner, whose team is 2-10-2 in its last 14 games. “We’ve done some good things, but obviously when you look at our record over the last couple of weeks, we have to find a way to push through. Tonight, we were a little soft on the puck at times and it ended up costing us. We’ve got to be better.”

Alzner opened the scoring midway through the first period with his first goal in 42 games with the Canadiens and 20th in 633 career NHL games. Galchenyuk made it 2-0 on a power play early in second, one-timing Jeff Petry’ pass inside the far post.

Sedin countered for Vancouver with 6:56 left in the period, beating Price with a low point shot through a screen.

Del Zotto tied it early in the third with a backhander.

NOTES: Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev sat out after taking a puck to the mouth and losing some teeth in Toronto. Ben Hutton took his spot. Forward Sven Baertschi was back in the lineup after missing 11 games with a broken jaw. … Nilsson made 40 saves.


Canucks: At Washington on Tuesday night.

Canadiens: Host Boston on Saturday night.


More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

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