Canadiens captain Saku Koivu beats Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen in the shootout for the game-winning goal.
Scott Cunningham, NHLI via Getty Images
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For the third straight time this season, the Canadiens and Atlanta Thrashers needed a shootout to decide the outcome of their matchup.
After losing the first two times, 3-2, the Habs got goals from Andrei Kostitsyn and Saku Koivu in the bonus format to grab the extra point with a 3-2 win of their own on Thursday night. Cristobal Huet, whose puckhandling miscue resulted in Atlanta’s tying goal midway through the third period, stopped Vyacheslav Kozlov and Marian Hossa in the shootout to help make up for his mistake.
Hossa opened the scoring for the Thrashers on the power play at 18:49 in the first period after Ilya Kovalchuk’s dive resulted in a Francis Bouillon penalty. Andrei Kostitsyn got that one back five minutes into the second period with a highlight-reel goal after splitting the defence and beating goalie Kari Lehtonen with a quick backhand to the top corner.
Michael Ryder’s seventh goal of the season six minutes into the final frame put the Canadiens ahead 2-1, but Atlanta got that one back three minutes later. Miscommunication between Huet and Roman Harmlik resulted in a turnover and Pascal Dupuis scored into an empty net to tie the game 2-2
Montreal outshot Atlanta 29-24, including 28-19 in regulation time.
Atlanta was the final stop on a four-game road trip for the Canadiens, who return home with a 3-1 record. They face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.