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NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Boston

(Thursday, March 20th)

Final Score: Montreal 4, Boston 2

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Alex Kovalev scored twice and added an assist, as the Montreal Canadiens moved to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins.

Andrei Kostitsyn finished with a goal and assist for Montreal, which has beaten Boston 10 straight times. The Canadiens increased their season total to 92 points, one better than idle New Jersey -- though the Devils have two games in hand.

Michael Ryder also tallied, and Carey Price stopped 34-of-36 shots in the win, the first game of a home-and-home between the teams. Montreal also stayed three points ahead of Ottawa atop the Northeast Division, as the Senators beat St. Louis on Thursday.

Mark Stuart and Dennis Wideman tallied for Boston, which has lost two in a row and five of six. Tim Thomas allowed four goals on 30 shots in the loss, as the Bruins stayed just one point ahead of idle Philadelphia for the seventh spot in the conference playoff race.

"I don't know if amazed is the word. Frustrated," Thomas said of the Bruins' losing streak against Montreal. "I've seen this in the minors, where one team dominates another one but I don't know if I've ever seen this at this level."

After a scoreless first period, Kovalev gave Montreal the edge in the middle frame with two goals in close succession. The first came at 8:19, after Kovalev picked up the puck in the neutral zone, and raced to the left circle.

There he spun counter-clockwise to shed a defender, moving to the slot, and his backhander trickled by Thomas for a 1-0 Canadiens lead.

Just over five minutes later, Kovalev created his own opportunity again. He took the puck the length of the ice, split a pair of defenders in the slot, and lost the puck. But he managed to get the back of his blade on the puck just before Thomas covered it, and slid it between Thomas' pads at 13:21.

"He's been amazing since the start of the year," Montreal head coach Guy Carbonneau said of Kovalev. "He's worked hard in every game he's been in and it seems like the more pressure there is in a game, he gets better."

Boston, though, scored 27 seconds after that, on a blast from Stuart from the right point, to bring the Bruins within 2-1.

But the Canadiens tallied twice to begin the third period, and created an insurmountable lead. The first came on good puck movement, as the Canadiens swarmed their offensive zone.

After the disc caromed off the boards directly behind the Boston net, Saku Koivu gathered it and, without hesitation, sent a pass to Ryder in the left circle for a one-timer past Thomas at 6:47. Kostitsyn then made it 4-1 Montreal just past the midway point of the period.

Boston scored once more, with 3:05 left, after Price was spun around by a collision with the Bruins' Shawn Thornton, and didn't have a chance to make the save on Wideman's blast. But the Bruins couldn't push another one across the goal line, as Montreal closed out the victory.

Game Notes

The teams were a combined 0-for-7 on power plays...The teams play again Saturday in Montreal...Boston's last win over Montreal came on March 3, 2007 in Boston, by a 3-1 score.

03/21 00:33:48 ET

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