Johnston’s late goal pushes Stars to 4-2 win over Canadiens

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Stars win over Canadiens
Dallas Stars' Tyler Seguin (91), Nils Lundkvist (5) and Wyatt Johnston (53) celebrate a power play goal scored by Johnston in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

DALLAS (AP) — Wyatt Johnston scored Dallas’ third power-play goal with five minutes remaining and the Stars rallied past the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Friday night.

Roope Hintz scored twice on primary assists from Jason Robertson, and Joel Kiviranta added an empty-netter with 17 seconds left. Jake Oettinger made 22 saves for the Stars, who are 4-1-1 in their last six games.

Johnston put his own rebound past Jake Allen, giving the rookie a three-game goal streak. At 19 years and 223 days old, he’s the youngest Dallas player to score in three consecutive games.

“(Ryan Suter) made a pretty perfect pass to me in the slot,” said Johnston, whose 10 goals are tied for second-most among NHL rookies. “Just tried to get a shot off on net. It got blocked and I got a pretty lucky bounce and it came right back to me and just had to put it in the open net.”

Fourth-line forwards Jake Evans and Michael Pezzetta scored for the Canadiens, who have lost five of six (1-4-1). Allen stopped 32 shots.

Montreal has played the first three of seven consecutive road games.

The Stars went 5 for 8 on the power play in sweeping the two-game season series, including a 5-2 win at Montreal on Oct. 22.

Dallas attacked and Montreal struggled

Was that a result of Dallas’ attack or Montreal’s penalty killers struggling?

“A little bit of both,” Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis said.

Evans deked Oettinger and scored just before sliding into the crease 4:04 into the game to give the NHL’s worst power play a goal with two seconds left on the man advantage. Evans hadn’t scored since last April.

The Canadiens, coming in at 13.6% on the power play, had only one power-play goal on 30 chances in their previous nine games. Evans’ goal came against the league’s No. 4 penalty kill at 83.1%.

Stars win over Canadiens

Pezzetta, who returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games, whistled a wrist shot off Oettinger’s stick and the crossbar to give Montreal a 2-0 lead at 2:24 of the second period.

Pezzetta, with an assist on Evans’ goal, had the first multipoint game of his two-year NHL career.

Hintz pulled the Stars to 2-1 at 15:19 of the second. Dallas tied it 2-all at 2:27 of the third on the same sequence — Hintz in the slot deflecting a shot by Robertson on the power play.

“(Robertson) has a computer in his head,” Hintz said.

“When the puck is on (Robertson’s) stick, something good is usually going to happen,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said.

Montreal’s unlikely source of goals came on a night when St. Louis placed the team’s top two scorers, Cole Caufield (19 goals, 28 points) and Nick Suzuki (15 goals, 31 points), on different lines.

Caufield had two shots on goal with three blocked, and Suzuki had no shots on goal.

“A little bit of an experiment,” St. Louis said. “We’ll see where it takes us.”

FACE IT

Pezzetta scored last January against Oettinger at American Airlines Center in a vastly different fashion. Skating toward the crease, a shot caromed off Oettinger, struck Pezzetta in the mouth and dropped across the goal line.

NOTES: Robertson (24 goals, 26 assists) reached 50 points in 35 games, the fastest for any Dallas player. … The Canadiens lost in regulation for the first time in nine games when leading after two periods. … Montreal was outshot by 12, 13 and 16 in these last three road games.

UP NEXT

Canadiens: Play the first of two consecutive games in Florida on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stars: Visit the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.