DALLAS — The Canadiens were hoping to cap a great road trip with a win Saturday, but they had to settle for a good trip after an old friend and an old nemesis combined to lead the Dallas Stars to a 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the American Airlines Center.
The old friend was Alexander Radulov, who resurrected his NHL when he played for the Canadiens two seasons ago, and got Dallas going with a first-period power-play goal.
The old nemesis was goaltender Ben Bishop, who came into this game with a 1.79 goals-against average. He improved on that as he ran his career record against Montreal to 13-4-4 with most of those wins coming when he was with Tampa Bay. He lost his shutout on a third-period goal by Artturi Lehkonen.
The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Canadiens, who were looking for a sweep of their three-game road trip after impressive wins in Arizona and Las Vegas.
The Canadiens had the quick start they wanted against the Stars, who played in Colorado on Friday. Montreal had the first six shots on goal, but lost the momentum when Joel Armia took a penalty while the Canadiens were on the power play.
By the time the first period ended, the Stars had a 14-13 edge in shots and a 1-0 lead thanks to Radulov’s goal. The Stars went on the power play at 15:23 after Ben Chiarot cross-checked Jason Dickinson and the Stars took only one second to capitalize. Tyler Sequin won the faceoff against Phil Danault and Radulov scored on a one-timer to Carey Price’s blocker side.
The Canadiens had three power plays in the first period, but appeared to be disorganized and managed only two shots with the extra man. The power play, which has been among the NHL’s best in the early going, went 0-for-5 with four shots on goal Saturday. Montreal is 0-for-10 over the past three games and has dropped out of the top-10.
Turnovers plagued the Canadiens in the second period and Price had to be at his best to keep the score close. The Stars added one goal when Denis Gurianov was awarded a penalty shot after he was impeded by Cale Fleury on a breakaway. Gurianov beat Price with a shot through the pads. Gurianov added a power-play goal in the third period and Miro Heiskanen completed the scoring with an empty-netter.
The Canadiens could have gone down by another goal or two in the second period as defensive lapses led to two Grade-A scoring chances for the Stars in the first 10 minutes. Price had to be sharp to stop Blake Comeau on a breakaway and Shea Weber hustled back to knock the puck off Seguin’s stick on another breakaway.
The game was preceded by a ceremonial puck drop by former Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, who was the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history when he retired earlier this year after 21 seasons with the Mavericks. He was the most valuable player when Dallas won its only NBA championship in 2011.
The Canadiens flew home Sunday and will return to action Tuesday when the Boston Bruins visit the Bell Centre (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN-690 Radio).