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Canadiens breeze by Toronto

Associated Press / January 9, 2009
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The Montreal Canadiens got the start they needed.

Patrice Brisebois assisted on each of the Canadiens' three first-period goals, Andrei Kostitsyn had a goal and two assists, and Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves in Montreal's 6-2 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs last night.

Goals by Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre, and Guillaume Latendresse helped Montreal take a 3-1 lead after the first period.

"We needed a great start," Lapierre said. "We played [Wednesday] night and we knew they were going to be ready so we just kept it simple, put the puck at the net, and that's what happened; we got the 2 points."

Alex Kovalev scored his 11th goal 6:20 into the second to put the Canadiens up by three, and Andrei Kostitsyn scored his 12th at 18:53 to make it 5-1 just moments after Toronto's Dominic Moore shot wide of an open net on a shorthanded opportunity.

Max Pacioretty scored Montreal's sixth goal in the third against Curtis Joseph, who replaced Vesa Toskala to begin the period.

Halak made his fourth straight start in place of Carey Price, sidelined by a lower-body injury.

"Everyone played so well and Jaro made the big saves," Brisebois said. "It's a huge 2 points and it's fun. We're playing great hockey right now."

The Canadiens, fresh from a 6-2 road win over the Rangers Wednesday night, extended their winning streak to three. Montreal is 8-1-1 since a season-high three-game losing streak.

Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski, a Canadien last season, pushed away linesman Scott Cherrey after the official fell on top of Grabovski while separating him from Sergei Kostitsyn during a skirmish late in the third. Grabovski, who acknowledged his actions might bring league sanctions, raised his arms to the jeering Bell Centre crowd as he left the ice.

Predators 5, Penguins 3 - Ryan Suter's power-play goal at 9:04 of the third period broke a tie as host Nashville snapped a five-game losing streak and dealt Pittsburgh its sixth loss in its last seven games.

With Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi in the penalty box for interference, Suter fired a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. The puck deflected off Pittsburgh defenseman Mark Eaton and past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Penguins squandered a 3-0, second-period lead.

Kings 4, Ducks 3 - Alexander Frolov scored the go-ahead goal for Los Angeles on a power play after Anaheim rookie Bobby Ryan tied it with three consecutive goals, and the Kings beat the visiting Ducks.

Ryan's hat trick was the first by an Anaheim rookie in the franchise's 15-year history. His three goals came during a 2:21 span. The second overall pick in the 2005 draft has scored seven of his 11 goals in the last 10 games.

Flyers 3, Wild 1 - Mike Knuble, Scott Hartnell, and Scottie Upshall scored and Philadelphia returned home from two weeks on the road and beat Minnesota.

Hartnell's tying goal in the second period ended Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom's bid for three straight shutouts.

The Flyers won their seventh straight home game and took sole possession of the Atlantic Division lead, 2 points ahead of the Rangers.

Red Wings 6, Stars 1 - Marian Hossa, Dan Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg each had a goal and an assist in host Detroit's fifth straight victory.

Kirk Maltby and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit, Niklas Kronwall added three assists, and Chris Osgood made 22 saves.

Panthers 4, Hurricanes 2 - Jay Bouwmeester and Nathan Horton scored early in the third period, and host Florida snapped Carolina's winning streak at a season-high four games.

Thrashers 4, Devils 0 - Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist, and Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season in Atlanta's victory at New Jersey.

Avalanche 2, Blackhawks 1 - Wojtek Wolski's goal with 6:59 remaining broke a tie, and Andrew Raycroft stopped 43 shots as Colorado edged Chicago and snapped a two-game home losing streak.

Flames 5, Islanders 2 - Daymond Langkow scored his 15th goal and added two assists in host Calgary's victory.

Coyotes 3, Lightning 2 - Kyle Turris broke a tie with 11:51 remaining and host Phoenix beat Tampa Bay, ending a two-game losing streak.

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