NHL Hockey

Canadiens beat Jets 3-1 to improve playoff hopes

Montreal Canadiens' Joel Armia (40) scores on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Dustin Byfuglien (33) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Shea Weber and the Montreal Canadiens have a lot of fight left in them.

They showed that Saturday night by beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 to remain relevant in the race for a playoff spot.

"We've talked about this the whole time. We're not giving up," said Weber, Montreal's captain. "We're not out yet. Six more points available for us. We'll take the next game here and try to win that one and see what happens."

Montreal is tied with Columbus for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after the Blue Jackets beat Nashville on Saturday night. Columbus has four games left, while Montreal has just three. Montreal and Columbus are a point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the first wild-card spot. Carolina has four games left.

Joel Armia, Jeff Petry and Jordan Weal scored and Carey Price made 23 saves.

"Right from the get-go, I thought that could have been one of our better games all season," Price said.

Mathieu Perreault scored for Winnipeg, and Connor Hellebuyck made 40 saves. The Jets have lost three in a row.

"Ever since we've clinched (a playoff spot), it seems like we're taking it a little bit more lightly, which we shouldn't," Perrault said. "I don't really know how to explain that, it's just maybe human nature, you know.

"You feel maybe a bit more comfortable knowing you are going to make the playoffs, so you don't have to try as hard. I'm sure when playoffs come around, we'll get back to our game."

Montreal controlled play in the first period of Winnipeg's final home game of the regular season, outshooting the Jets 16-5 and grabbing a 1-0 lead. Armia scored against his former team eight seconds after Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers went to the penalty box for tripping.

Petry made it 2-0 with 37 seconds left in the second with a shot from the point.

Perreault scored his 15th goal of the season with 8:36 remaining. Weal scored into the empty net with 16 seconds left.

NOTES: Montreal was coming off a 6-2 loss at Columbus on Thursday night. ... Max Domi had an assist on Petry's goal to reach 70 points.


Canadiens: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

Jets: At Chicago on Monday night.

Updated March 30, 2019

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