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NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Montreal



(Tuesday, October 30th)

Final Score: Atlanta 3, Montreal 2 (SO)

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Bryan Little and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored in the shootout, lifting the Atlanta Thrashers over the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, at the Bell Centre.

Little, the second skater for Atlanta in the extra session, beat Montreal rookie Carey Price with a backhand shot, while Kovalchuk stunned the Habs netminder on the third attempt with a quick snapshot into the low right corner of the net.

On the other side of the ice, Johan Hedberg denied Tomas Plekanec's wrister, allowed a highlight-reel goal to Saku Koivu, then watched Alex Kovalev's shot sail high over the net to end the game.

Eric Perrin and Slava Kozlov scored less than a minute apart in regulation for the Thrashers, who have posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season and won for the fourth time in six games since general manager Don Waddell took over as interim coach.

Hedberg also finished with 31 saves and improved his career mark to 6-0 in shootouts.

"It's always a big win because we need those points right now," said Kovalchuk. "Our goalie was unbelievable and gave us a chance to win, and to win it in the shootout."

Kovalev tallied on the power play and also assisted on Christopher Higgins' goal on the man-advantage, while Price stopped 31-of-33 shots for Montreal, which had a season-high four-game win streak halted.

"We have to be real happy with one point," said Koivu. "We showed ourselves that if we don't play a team game, we don't play simple hockey, we make those mistakes and we're not going to be successful. The focus really wasn't there tonight. It was a good lesson for us. Atlanta came in here, they played hard, they won and they deserve those two points. But every point is very big this week for us. We'll take this point and learn from our mistakes."

After a scoreless first period in which Montreal managed just two shots on goal, the club briefly took the lead in the second period.

Kovalev got the Habs on the board with a power-play tally, corralling the puck along the right boards, striding through the circle, and ripping a slapshot between a pair of defenders that beat Hedberg on the far side at 8:10.

Perrin tied it up with 3:44 remaining in the stanza, however, when he knocked home the loose puck, sitting idle in the crease after Marian Hossa's slapshot deflected off the left skate of Price.

Kozlov then put the Thrashers in front just 57 seconds later when he nabbed the puck off a careless turnover by Habs defenseman Josh Gorges, charged toward the net and backhanded the disc through the five-hole of Price.

With Montreal trailing by a goal, Higgins then tallied on the power play and made it a 2-2 game with 1:58 to play in regulation.

The goal was set up after Todd White took Atlanta's third straight penalty and was sent off for hooking. The Canadiens quickly capitalized, as Koivu put a centering pass from the right corner to Higgins, who easily one-timed it past Hedberg.

Game Notes

Montreal defenseman Francis Bouillon is day-to-day after suffering a left shoulder injury in Saturday's game against Pittsburgh...Defenseman Patrice Brisebois played his 800th game as a member of the Canadiens...Koivu's assist on Higgins' goal gives him 547 points, tying Guy Carbonneau for 17th place on the all-time scoring list for Montreal.

10/30 23:07:21 ET


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