Kovalev shines; Archer, Carle injured

Alex Kovalev grabbed the spotlight from Sidney Crosby last night at the Bell Centre after a three-point night that included the overtime winner as the Habs downed the Penguins 3-2 in the first of back-to-back exhibition games.

But the Canadiens’ blue line took a bruising during the game, with Andrew Archer sent to hospital for X-rays after a fight with Georges Laraque in the first period and Mathieu Carle suffering a knee injury in the second period.

The Gazette’s Pat Hickey writes that on paper, the Penguins had a clear advantage because of their lineup’s NHL experience. The players dressed for the Pens combined for 194 NHL goals last season, while the Canadiens lineup scored only 78 goals.

Hickey also writes that Cristobal Huet, who is in a battle for the team’s No. 1 goaltending spot, delivered an excellent performance, shutting out the Penguins for 35 minutes before being replaced by Yann Danis.

In Tuesday night’s rematch, Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak will be between the pipes for the Canadiens, while Saku Koivu, Michael Ryder, Roman Hamrlik and Bryan Smolinski will be among the veterans getting their first taste of exhibition action.

The full lineup will be posted when it becomes available.

To read Hickey’s article from today’s Montreal Gazette, go here.

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