Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored his first NHL hat trick and Nick Suzuki had a goal and three assists for the Montreal Canadiens in an 8-2 win against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Mike Hoffman had a goal and two assists and Mike Matheson had three assists for the Canadiens (29-38-6, 64 points), who won for only the third time in their past 13 games (3-8-2). Sam Montembeault made 21 saves.
Lane Pederson and Kirill Marchenko scored for the Blue Jackets (23-42-7, 53 points), who have allowed at least six goals in four of their past five games.
Elvis Merzlikins gave up six goals on 24 shots before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury with 2:58 remaining in the second period. Michael Hutchinson made six saves in relief.
Pederson gave Columbus a 1-0 lead at 1:32 of the first period on a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle.
Hoffman wired a wrist shot from the left circle to tie it 1-1 at 3:39.
Jesse Ylonen put the Canadiens ahead 2-1 at 9:43, firing a shot stick side on Merzlikins.
Marchenko's sharp-angle shot from the goal line below the right circle snuck beat Montembeault far side to tie it 2-2 with two minutes left in the opening period.
The Canadiens pulled away in the second period.
Harvey-Pinard scored 13 seconds in to put the home side ahead 3-2. Matheson drove to the net and got a shot on Merzlikins but the puck was loose behind him and Harvey-Pinard pushed it in.
He made it 4-2 exactly seven minutes later. Suzuki collected the loose puck along the wall and carried it up the ice before dropping a short backhand pass for Hoffman inside the zone. Hoffman quickly fed Harvey-Pinard, who connected from the inner side of the right circle.
Brendan Gallagher scored from in front to push it to 5-2 at 13:08.
Harvey-Pinard completed the hat trick on the power play at 16:42 when he redirected a pass from Hoffman from the slot to extend it to 6-2.
Alex Belzile's backhand pass intended for Chris Tierney hit the stick of Columbus defenseman Andrew Peeke in front to make it 7-2 at 11:48 of the third period. Suzuki scored from the high slot to pad the lead 8-2 at 13:49.
--Field Level Media