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High-flying top line carries Avalanche past Canadiens

AP

Gabriel Landeskog broke a tie 35 seconds into the third period by batting in a goal, Philipp Grubauer stopped 35 shots and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist to give him an NHL-leading 58 points. He’s followed by teammate Nathan MacKinnon, who has 55 points after a two-assist evening. Landeskog, the third member of their high-flying line, scored his team-best 23rd goal.

Carey Price, who stopped 24 shots, came up short in his bid for his 300th career victory. He’s trying to become the 35th goaltender to reach that milestone.

Brendan Gallagher had a power-play goal for Montreal, breaking the Canadiens’ 0-for-25 dry spell with the man advantage.

Grubauer only got stronger throughout the night in improving to 8-0-3 over his last 11 starts.

Montreal tried to pull Price for an extra skater late in the third, but was called for too many men on the ice. The Canadiens eventually got Price to the bench with a minute remaining. They were then called for a tripping penalty trying to keep MacKinnon from scoring into an empty net.

Landeskog scored the go-ahead goal when he knocked in a shot out of midair as he and Montreal forward Jonathan Drouin crashed into Price. The Canadiens contended it was goaltender interference, but replay confirmed the goal. Landeskog celebrated by tossing down his water bottle in exuberance.

Trailing 1-0 early in the second, Colorado capitalized on a mistake by Price. He tried to play the puck to the side had it intercepted by MacKinnon, who dished it over to Rantanen for the goal.

Gallagher broke Montreal’s eight-game drought on the power play with a tip-in following a blast from Jeff Petry at 5:43 of the first period.

Penguins 2, Capitals 1

In Washington, Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust scored and Pittsburgh ended hot streaks by Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.

The third meeting this season between these longtime rivals featured tight checking, strong goaltending and more than a few punches. Rust broke a 1-1 tie late in the second period with his sixth goal in five games, and the Penguins held on against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Playing in his second game since returning from a lower body injury, Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray stopped 31 shots.

Lars Eller scored the lone goal for the Capitals. They had won five in a row.

Ovechkin was held without a goal for the first time in seven games and had his career-high run of games with a point end at 14.