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Anderson snaps 27-game goal drought as Canadiens hang on for 4-2 win over Kraken

Montreal Canadiens' Mike Matheson (8) collides with Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer as Kraken's Justin Schultz (4) looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Monday, December 4, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL — A whole bunch of Montreal Canadiens forwards got the monkey off their backs Monday night, but Josh Anderson probably felt the most relief of all — even if he didn't beat a goalie to score.

With Montreal up 3-2, and Seattle pressing, Anderson floated the puck from his own zone and into the Seattle Kraken's empty net with 32 seconds left to light up the Bell Centre.

The goal broke a 27-game drought dating back to last season and sealed a 4-2 Canadiens win over the struggling Kraken.

"Obviously it's such an amazing fan base. I know it can be tough at some times, but they sounded like they stuck with it,” said Anderson about the crowd’s reaction. “They showed their support and that's why I love playing here so much."

Anderson said he sat himself down and focused on getting back to the basics instead of worrying about his drought in the past couple weeks.

"I just said 'you've got to get back to the way you're playing, you're in this league for a reason,'" he said. "Just go out there and do your thing, don't focus about scoring, and just try to get back to your game and things will take care of themselves."

Sean Monahan scored twice and Tanner Pearson also had a goal for Montreal (11-11-3), which won its first game at home since Nov. 11.

Monahan had gone 14 games without finding the back of the net, while Pearson broke a 19-game streak.

But on Monday, the post-game celebrations were for Anderson.

“The guys are happy for Andy, he’s been through some tough times to start here,” said Monahan. “You get a win on home ice, he gets his first and yeah, it feels good.”

Samuel Montembeault made 31 saves in his first start since signing a three-year, US$9.45-million contract extension with the Canadiens.

Vince Dunn, with a goal and an assist, and Jared McCann scored for the Kraken, while Philipp Grubauer stopped 26 shots for Seattle (8-12-6), which lost its fifth straight game and heads home from a four-game road trip without a point.

"It's really unacceptable to come out with nothing,” said Dunn. “We see how well we can play so maybe we (can look at that) and understand how close we are, but being close doesn't cut it, it doesn't win you games, it needs to be complete and it's definitely not even close to that right now."

Monahan opened the scoring at 4:03 of the first period. 

Jake Evans forced a turnover on the forecheck and the puck slid to Anderson, who gave up a chance to score and instead laid it on a platter for Monahan to tap it in at the side of the net.

With the ink still drying on his new deal, Montembeault looked sharp early and robbed Kraken forward Alex Wennberg on two separate occasions with left-pad saves on the doorstep to keep Montreal ahead.

"There were a lot of distractions the last couple days, a lot of messages, so I wanted to put that behind me quickly," said Montembeault. "My legs felt good tonight."

Pearson doubled Montreal’s lead 3:12 into the second period by burying a rebound in front of the net before Monahan scored his second on the power play to make it 3-0 at 6:58.

Seattle cut into the deficit before the end of the frame with a goal from McCann. Dunn brought the Kraken to within one with a slap shot over Montembeault’s right shoulder on the power play 4:49 into the third.

Seattle then pulled the goalie with 1:30 left but couldn’t overcome the early deficit before Anderson iced the game.

"I wish I had an answer for you, honestly, it feels like we (start slow) every time. We're chasing the game,” said McCann. “Without Gruby it would have been 5-0 after the first period. It's frustrating. We're all frustrated right now because we know we have better.

"Our effort in the first period was pretty embarrassing."


Veteran forward Brendan Gallagher played in his 700th NHL game, all with the Canadiens. Montreal drafted Gallagher in the fifth round, 147th overall, in the 2010 draft.

The 31-year-old from Edmonton has produced 207 goals and 198 assists with the Canadiens and becomes the 27th skater to reach the 700 milestone in franchise history. He added one assist to his totals on Monday.


Canadiens: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Kraken: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2023.

Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press

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