Game 66: Canadiens take crown from Kings

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick can’t stop shot by Canadiens’ Dominic Moore during the second period Saturday night. Lori Shepler, Reuters

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AUDIO: Benoit Pouliot | Jaro Halak | Jacques Martin

• At a Glance: The Canadiens struck quickly in the first and third periods on Saturday night en route to a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Brian Gionta scored his 19th of the season only 22 seconds into the game off a goal-mouth scramble. The Canadiens dominated most of the first period, but Anze Kopitar evened the score at 1-1 with less than two minutes to play with a nice move to beat Jaroslav Halak, who was making his first start since the Olympic break. Dominic Moore beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with a blistering slap shot 4:43 into the second period with Jaroslav Spacek in the penalty box. Then, only 36 seconds into the third period, Benoit Pouliot slid one under an outstretched Quick to give the Canadiens a 3-1 lead. Fredrik Modin make it 3-2 with about 13 minutes to play and the Kings pushed hard for the tying goal, dominating the third period until Tomas Plekanec scored an empty-net goal with just more than a minute to play.

• Key Moments: The Canadiens were able to kill off four straight Los Angeles power plays in the first two periods, and even scored a shorthanded goal thanks to Moore.

• What It Means: The Canadiens improve to 31-29-6 for 68 points and climb back into eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

• What’s Next: Montreal is right back in action Sunday night against former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu and his Anaheim Ducks. The Canadiens are back home for three games after that starting Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and the Boston Bruins next Saturday.

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