Bernier backstops Red Wings to second straight victory in Montreal

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Suddenly the Red Wings can’t lose.

For two games anyway. But the Red Wings will gladly enjoy this after having lost 12 consecutive games

Saturday they won again in what used to be an arena where they enjoyed very little success over the years, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 2-1.

Detroit Red Wings' Mike Green (25) celebrates with teammate Filip Zadina after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period.

Tyler Bertuzzi and Mike Green (power play) scored goals, and goaltender Jonathan Bernier was outstanding with 42 saves — sparkling in his return to his hometown of Montreal — as the Red Wings won again.

To do it in Montreal, again, is certainly eye-opening.

When the Wings won in Montreal in October, it ended a nine-game overall losing streak to the Canadiens and was the Wings' first regulation victory in Montreal since 2007.

BOX SCORE: Red Wings 2, Canadiens 1

Now, it's two straight wins in Montreal, and thanks mainly, in both cases, to Bernier, who was even much better Saturday than in October.

The Wings (9-22-3) also ended a six-game road losing streak, playing one of their better all-around defensive games in recent memory.

Former Red Wing Tomas Tatar deprived Bernier a shutout with his 12th goal with just 47 seconds left.

Here are other highlights from Saturday’s game:

Detroit's goals

Bertuzzi gave the Wings a 1-0 lead at 3:21 of the first period.

Dylan Larkin stripped the puck from Montreal defenseman Shea Weber behind the net and fed Bertuzzi open in front of goalie Carey Price, Bertuzzi putting in his 11th goal.

Green made it 2-0 at 7:42 of the third period, his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 18, ending a 17-game drought.

Green took a pass from Andreas Athanasiou at the top of the slot, waited, and ripped a shot past Price, who was screened by several bodies.

Welcome back

Anthony Mantha, Athanasiou and for that matter, Madison Bowey, all returned to the Wings’ lineup.

Mantha hadn’t played in three weeks with a knee injury, but returned to play in his hometown of Montreal and played just over 12 minutes with three hits and a minor fight against Montreal's Jeff Petry (Orchard Lake St. Mary/Michigan State).

Athanasiou missed two games with an undisclosed injury, and drew an assist on Green's power-play goal. Athanasiou had three shots on net, in 16 minutes 3 seconds of playing time.

Bowey was waived Monday and was assigned to Grand Rapids when no other team claimed him.

Bowey was recalled Friday — Dylan McIlrath was assigned to Grand Rapids — and had a good game, with two hits in 14:08 of ice time.

Bernier stars

Bernier was solid all evening, but especially good in the final 40 minutes preserving the lead and frustrating the Canadiens, who had opportunities in close.

Bernier was at his best early in the third period, with the Wings holding a 1-0 lead, making a diving save on Nick Suzuki, then turning aside a Brett Kulak shot from the point, all during the same Canadiens' flurry.

In the second period, Bernier stopped Nick Cousins all alone on a 2-on-1 Montreal rush.

Bernier said in October he also enjoys playing in his hometown despite a non-winning record. It certainly showed Saturday, as he played with a lot of poise and composure, making 20 of his 41 saves in the third period.

Montreal goal

Tatar, the former Red Wing, fired a shot from the top of the slot with the goaltender pulled, that got through Bernier with 47 seconds left.

Kings at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7 p.m. Sunday, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM

Outlook: The Kings (13-18-3) are coming off a 5-4 shootout loss Saturday in Pittsburgh. ... The Kings are 4-5-2 in their last 11 games but remain in last place in the Western Conference. ... C Anze Kopitar (11 goals) and D Drew Doughty (21 assists) pace the attack.

Twitter: @tkulfan