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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Atlanta

(Thursday, March 8th)

Final Score: Atlanta 6, Montreal 2

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Jon Sim scored twice and Atlanta used a four- goal second-period blitz to rout Montreal, 6-2 at Philips Arena.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Viktor Kozlov had a goal and an assist for the Thrashers, who have won five in a row and moved two points ahead of idle Tampa Bay and regained sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division.

"It's a big win," Sim said. "Everyone played hard, we had four lines, six defensemen all working hard."

Eric Belanger and J.P. Vigier also tallied, and Kari Lehtonen stopped 33 shots for the win, the largest margin of victory for Atlanta over Montreal in franchise history.

Guillaume Latendresse and Radek Bonk scored for the Canadiens, who have dropped five of six. Mike Johnson added a pair of assists in defeat.

Jaroslav Halak stopped just 10-of-15 shots in almost 27 minutes of action before he was replaced. David Aebischer finished with 13 saves in relief.

Already up by a pair after one period, Kozlov boosted the lead to 3-0 at 3:41 of the second, as a bad Montreal giveaway deep in its own zone found the Russian's stick for an easy goal.

Belanger followed 30 seconds later as Kozlov fed him for an open-net goal from the high slot. Vigier then followed up his own rebound and beat a diving Halak at the edge of the crease at 6:47, and Aebischer finally relieved the shell-shocked netminder.

The change did not help, and Atlanta increased its advantage to 6-0 when Sim potted his second of the night with 8:43 played.

Only 44 seconds later, Latendresse tallied with a nice wrister from the left wing over Lehtonen's shoulder to get Montreal on the board at 6-1. Bonk finished off the scoring with his 12th of the season at 8:24 of the third.

"We gave the game to them," said Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau. "We made some mistakes in the beginning and they took advantage of them. Five goals on 15 shots makes it hard to win."

Atlanta took a 1-0 lead on its first power play of the night, as Kovalchuk scored his 36th goal of the season at 9:45 of the first period. On the shot from the left circle, Halak managed to close his pads to slow the blast, but not enough to prevent it from trickling over the goal line.

Sim made it 2-0 exactly two minutes later when he was left all alone in front to receive Belanger's pass off a bad Canadiens turnover and stashed a quick shot through Halak's five hole.

"That first goal on the power play gave us life because Montreal got off to a pretty good start," said Thrashers head coach Bob Hartley. "They skated well and we knew they would be desperate with the kind of week they went through."

Game Notes

Despite the loss, Montreal won the season series, 3-1-0, and the Canadiens have won eight of the last 12 matchups...Thrashers forward Marian Hossa was briefly knocked out of action after a blatant knee-to-knee hit by the Habs' Francis Bouillion late in the second period, but returned to play in the third...Kozlov's assist on Belanger's goal was his 400th career helper...Sim's last two-goal game came on October 13 against Carolina...The Canadiens' top- ranked power-play finished 0-for-6 while the Thrashers went 1-for-5.

03/08 23:29:20 ET

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