NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Los Angeles
(Saturday, March 8th)
Final Score: Montreal 5, Los Angeles 2
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Guillaume Latendresse posted a goal and an assist, as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the lowly Los Angeles Kings, 5-2, in a matinee at the Staples Center.
Patrice Brisebois, Saku Koivu, Andrei Kostitsyn and Tom Kostopoulos also tallied for the Canadiens, who have won nine of their last 12 contests. Roman Hamrlik collected two assists, while Jaroslav Halak, making his first start of the season, finished with 35 saves.
The Canadiens have 85 points on the year and are two ahead of Ottawa, which bested Phoenix Saturday night, for the top spot in the Northeast Division. Montreal is also a point behind New Jersey, which defeated Toronto Saturday night, for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Anze Kopitar registered a goal and an assist for the Kings, who have won just twice in their last 10 games. Rob Blake also scored and Erik Ersberg allowed four goals on 22 shots in defeat.
The Canadiens opened the scoring when Brisebois ripped a slap shot from the right point that deflected off Kopitar, causing the puck to slide between the pads of Ersberg at the 5:09 mark of the second. It was the 400th point of Brisebois' career.
Montreal's top-ranked power play made it 2-0 at 7:40. With Brian Willsie serving a two-minute minor for slashing, Mark Streit fired a shot from the right point and Koivu, skating through the slot, redirected the puck up and over the glove of Ersberg, who had dropped to his knees to protect the lower part of the net.
Latendresse put the Canadiens ahead 3-0 with 7:17 to go, but Los Angeles got on the board courtesy of the power play. On a broken play in front of Halak, Blake cruised down the slot and lifted a loose puck over the goaltender's glove with 3:07 left in the stanza. Blake's tally gave him 700 points in his career and tied Bob Berry (159) for 10th place in franchise history.
Broken glass caused the second-period intermission to be taken with 47 seconds remaining. Following the break, the teams played out the allotted time before switching ends at the start of the third frame.
Kostitsyn restored a three-goal cushion at 3:49 of the third. Tomas Plekanec fed Kostitsyn, who was standing alone in front, and jammed the puck past the left pad of Ersberg.
Kopitar's 29th goal of the season cut the deficit to two at 6:29, but Kostopoulos added an empty-net goal with 1:53 remaining to put the game away.
Los Angeles' Tom Preissing appeared to have scored a power-play goal with about nine minutes left in the first period, but the marker was waved off after Kyle Calder made incidental contact with Halak.
Montreal made its first trip to Los Angeles since March 6, 2004...Plekanec extended his point streak to five games (six goals, three assists)...Montreal wraps up its four-game road trip Sunday in Anaheim...Los Angeles concludes its three-game homestand Monday against Vancouver.
03/08 22:46:15 ET