WINNIPEG — The Montreal Canadiens scored three goals in the first period, including twice in the opening 5:10, before hanging on for a 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Bell MTS Place on Wednesday.
Eric Staal had a goal and an assist, and Carey Price made 27 saves for the Canadiens, the No. 4 seed in the Scotia North Division.
Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves for the Jets, the No. 3 seed.
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series will be here Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Jesperi Kotkaniemi gave Montreal a 1-0 lead at 3:30 of the first period, redirecting a shot from Jeff Petry.
Eric Staal scored his first of the playoffs to make it 2-0 at 5:10 when he shot into an open net after receiving a cross-crease pass from Corey Perry.
Adam Lowry cut it to 2-1 at 11:52 of the first, stealing the puck from Erik Gustafsson and scoring shorthanded on a breakaway.
Nick Suzuki pushed the lead to 3-1 at 17:14 of the first, toe-dragging Hellebuyck on a 2-on-1 before tucking a shot inside the left post.
Derek Forbort cut it to 3-2 at 9:22 of the third period, but Brendan Gallagher scored a power-play goal on the rebound of Shea Weber‘s shot to make it 4-2 at 11:04.
With Hellebuyck pulled for the extra skater, Kyle Connor cut it to 4-3 with a one-timer at 18:18.
Jake Evans scored into an empty net at 19:03 for the 5-3 final.
Just after Evans wrapped the puck into the net, Jets forward Mark Scheifele hit the Canadiens forward, who was stabilized before being taken off the ice on a stretcher. Scheifele was assessed a charging major and game misconduct.
Jets forward Paul Stastny did not dress for the game and was replaced by Dominic Toninato.