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Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen, left, celebrates with Phillip Danault and Ben Chiarot after scoring in the second period Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets. The Canadiens won, 5-1. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP

MONTREAL — Joel Armia had two goals and an assist, Carey Price made 26 saves, and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-1 on Sunday night to take a 3-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.

Corey Perry, Artturi Lehkonen and Nick Suzuki also scored for the Canadiens, who have won six straight games and haven’t trailed since losing Game 4 against Toronto in the first round. Montreal will try to complete a four-game sweep on Monday night at home.

The Canadiens lead a playoff series 3-0 for the first time since 2015, when they beat Ottawa in the opening round.

Adam Lowry scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves. Winnipeg was without top center Mark Scheifele, who is serving a four-game suspension for a charging penalty in the series opener. The Jets got Paul Stastny back after he missed the first two games because of an undisclosed injury.

Montreal welcomed another 2,500 fans Sunday night after hosting the first NHL crowd in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic for Game 6 against Toronto.

The Canadiens opened the scoring at 4:45 of the first period on a grinding shift by the fourth line of Perry, Armia and Eric Staal. Caught in the middle of a change following a turnover, the Jets were hemmed into their own end for 30 seconds before Perry’s shot – the Canadiens’ third chance of the sequence – went off Winnipeg defenseman Jamie Benn’s stick and past Hellebuyck.

Lehkonen made it 2-0 at 9:24 of the second on a scramble after Phillip Danault hit the post.

The Jets went to the power play when the Canadiens were whistled for too many men, but Armia intercepted Stastny’s pass and broke the other way on a 2-on-1 before delaying around a sliding Josh Morrissey to make it 3-0 at 13:41 of the second. It was Montreal’s third short-handed goal of the playoffs.

Lowry broke Price’s shutout streak at 99 minutes, 33 seconds with 2:09 left in the period when he took a pass from Mathieu Perreault and fired a shot to the blocker side.

Suzuki made it 4-1 on a power play at 8:52 of the third, and Armia added his second of the night into an empty net with Hellebuyck on the bench for an extra attacker and Montreal killing another penalty with 3:18 remaining.

NOTES

BORDER CROSSINGS: The NHL received an exemption from Canadian health officials allowing cross-border travel for teams starting in the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the league announced.

When in Canada, teams will be required to stay in a bubble and be tested daily for COVID-19, similar to the tight restrictions that allowed the NHL to stage and complete its playoffs in two hub cities last year. Teams will be assigned designated hotels and have no interaction with the public.

Canadian Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino’s spokesman Alexander Cohen said the decision was made in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada and with approval from the Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba governments.

Cohen said the government will not hesitate to take further action should it be required.

“The National Hockey League is very appreciative of the decision,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement released by the league.

The exemption means the winner of the NHL’s West Division second-round playoff series between Colorado and Vegas will be allowed to travel to face the winner of the North Division second-round series between Winnipeg and Montreal.

The exemption will stay in place in the event Winnipeg or Montreal advances to the Stanley Cup final.

The NHL was considering having its Canadian-based North Division champion relocate to a temporary home in the U.S. starting in the semifinals.

The border restrictions prevented NHL teams from traveling between the U.S. and Canada during a shortened 56-game regular season. The league was limited to inter-division play only, and led to the creation of a North Division made up of the NHL’s seven Canadian-based franchises.

With few exceptions, travelers entering Canada are required to enter a two-week period of isolation upon arrival.

The restrictions came into effect in March 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began, and led to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays playing their regular seasons exclusively in the U.S.

The Blue Jays are currently playing out of their Triple-A site in Buffalo, New York, after spending the first two months of the season playing at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida.

This past week, Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro left open the possibility of the team returning to Toronto at some point this season. Shapiro, however, cautioned the decision would likely hinge on Canada loosening its border regulations.

Shapiro declined to get into specifics in saying talks between the Blue Jays and Canadian health officials have become more frequent and “certainly more positive” in recent weeks.


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