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Atlanta at Montreal

Tanguay's five-point night helps Canadiens snap five-game slide

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MONTREAL -- Bob Gainey's decision to combine the offensive talents of Alex Tanguay, Alexei Kovalev and Saku Koivu added up to a huge win for the Montreal Canadiens.

Tanguay had two goals and three assists and Montreal snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday.

Kovalev had two goals and an assist and Koivu had a goal and two assists as they teamed up with Tanguay -- who enjoyed the third five-point game of his career - on a newly formed line that produced 11 points.

"If you want to have success, your best players have to play like they're capable of playing," Tanguay said. "Alex and Saku worked really hard and it was a good game for us. Hopefully we can build on it and our line can play like that in our next game."

Glen Metropolit also scored for Montreal, which won for just the second time in seven games (2-3-2) since Gainey -- the team's general manager -- took over behind the bench after firing head coach Guy Carbonneau on March 9.

"Well, Koivu's line certainly performed in the role that they were put into," Gainey said. "They were a good working trio of players that were productive in the places where we need that offensive thrust, on the power play and really throughout the game. They played like they wanted to play together and they were working to play with each other, good passing plays for shots, for scoring chances and for goals."

The Canadiens regained sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 83 points, two more than Florida. Both teams have nine games remaining.

"It's one game but you do have to start from somewhere," Koivu said. "We couldn't wait any longer and these two points really feel good. Hopefully they give us the confidence, that little boost that we were looking for for the upcoming games. Obviously it feels great, but there's a lot of work ahead of us."

Carey Price stopped 22 shots, including a glove save on Ilya Kovalchuk's shot from the left side on a 2-on-1 break in the second period.

"He made that look way more interesting than it was but he's a good goalie," Kovalchuk said. "He was struggling a little bit but he looks like he's found his game and they've got a good enough team to make the playoffs."

Kovalchuk's 38th goal drew Atlanta even at 2 on a power play 2:41 into the second after Metropolit scored 32 seconds into the middle period.

Joey Crabb and Zach Bogosian also scored for the Thrashers, who have lost three of four following a six-game winning streak.

Kari Lehtonen made 16 saves.

"I think actually we played pretty well," Kovalchuk said. "Their power play was better than ours, but 5-on-5, I thought we were better and we got a lot of chances, myself included."

Tanguay gave Montreal its first of three leads when he drove the slot and put a backhand past Lehtonen for his 13th goal 7:21 into the first period.

Kovalev's 18th goal on a backhand from the slot made it 3-2 on a power play 8:37 into the second before Tanguay got his second goal of the game -- his 14th -- on another man advantage at 13:46.

Kovalev got his second of the game -- his 19th -- as the Canadiens converted both power-play opportunities to take a 5-2 lead after Bryan Little had an unsportsmanlike conduct minor added to his interference penalty at 13:16.

"It's good that it happened this year at a time of the year when we've got nothing to lose really," Kovalchuk said. "We're not battling for a playoff spot so that's a good way to learn. He's not going to make those mistakes in the big games."

Andrei Markov, who had three assists, set up both power-play goals while Little was in the penalty box.

The Thrashers, who allowed three power-play goals in six opportunities, have the lowest ranked penalty killing unit in the league. Atlanta has allowed 79 goals in 319 power-play opportunities.

"Actually, the last 20 games we've been getting better but we're still working on it," Kovalchuk said. "We've got a young team and we've got a long way to improve our game to be a competitive team for the playoffs. It's very important to be good on the special teams so hopefully next year we'll be way better than we are this year."

Tanguay, who set up both of Kovalev's power-play goals, got his third assist as Koivu made it 6-2 with a backhand between Lehtonen's pads for his 14th goal 23 seconds into the third.

Bogosian scored his sixth goal at 8:13.

Little and Mike Komisarek got roughing minors with 27 seconds left in the second after the Canadiens defenseman came to Price's defense with Little sprawled on top of him.

Crabb finished off a 3-on-1 break 14:02 into the first to tie it at 1. Garnet Exelby drove down the left side accompanied by Crabb and Rich Peverley with only Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges between them and Price.

Exelby made a centering pass to Peverley, who moved around a sprawling Gorges and passed to Crabb for a shot into an open right side.

Peverley got his second assist of the game on Kovalchuk's goal as the Thrashers captain beat Price with a shot under the Montreal goalie's left arm.

Notes

  • Thrashers C Todd White ended a nine-game points streak, and LW Slava Kozlov's streak ended at eight. White had three goals and seven assists during his streak, and Kozlov had four goals and eight assists.
  • Kovalchuk has 12 power-play goals, tying him with Little and White for the team lead.
  • Tanguay had his most recent five-point game with Colorado on March 3, 2004, when he had two goals and three assists against Vancouver.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alex Tanguay, who records his third career five-point game, gets props from his teammates. (Getty Images)
Alex Tanguay, who records his third career five-point game, gets props from his teammates. (Getty Images)
Related Links
 
Scoreboard
Atlanta (30-38-6)1113
Montreal  (37-27-9) «1416
Three Stars
A. Tanguay
MON


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 3
A. Kovalev
MON


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
S. Koivu
MON


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2

Related Video

Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
07:21Alex Tanguay (13), Backhand Shot. Assist: Kovalev, Schneider
14:02Joey Crabb (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Peverley, Exelby
2ND PERIOD
32.0Glen Metropolit (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Higgins, Markov
02:41Power Play - Ilya Kovalchuk (38), Slap Shot. Assist: Peverley, Perrin
08:37Power Play - Alexei Kovalev (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Tanguay, Koivu
13:46Power Play - Alex Tanguay (14), Slap Shot. Assist: Koivu, Markov
15:24Power Play - Alexei Kovalev (19), Slap Shot. Assist: Tanguay, Markov
3RD PERIOD
23.0Saku Koivu (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Tanguay
08:13Zach Bogosian (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Armstrong
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
10:28Plekanec, 2 min, Holding
17:52Komisarek, 2 min, Interference
2ND PERIOD
57.0Koivu, 2 min, Holding the Stick
08:20Bogosian, 2 min, Hooking
10:42Lehtonen, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
13:16Little, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
13:16Little, 2 min, Interference
19:33Komisarek, 2 min, Roughing
19:33Little, 2 min, Roughing
3RD PERIOD
05:42Koivu, 2 min, Hooking
11:23Metropolit, 2 min, Hooking
14:37Bogosian, 2 min, Hooking
16:42Stuart, 2 min, Tripping
19:16Thorburn, 2 min, Roughing
19:16Kostopoulos, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
19:16Kostopoulos, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Atlanta109625
Montreal410822
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Kari Lehtonen60:00166
Carey Price59:57223
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Atlanta1-for-6
Montreal3-for-6
Game Information
Attendance - 21273
Referees - Greg Kimmerly, Brad Meier
Linesmen - Tony Sericolo, Mark Shewchyk
 
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