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Bonk goal gives Canadiens 4-2 victory over injury-plagued Wild

The Canadian Press
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Canadiens Sergei Samsonov is stopped by Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom. (CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz) Author: The Hockey News

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Bonk goal gives Canadiens 4-2 victory over injury-plagued Wild

The Canadian Press
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Bonk pushed the puck in from a scramble in front of goaltender Niklas Backstrom at 12:33 to break a tie and give Montreal (12-5-3) its fourth win in five games. Mike Komisarek added an empty-net goal with 24 seconds to play. The Wild (12-8-1), without injured stars Pavol Demitra, Marian Gaborik and speedy forward Wes Walz, are 3-7-1 in their last 11 games after starting the season 9-1-0.

Alex Kovalev and Steve Begin scored in the first period for Montreal, but the Wild dominated the second and tied the game with goals from Stephane Vielleux and Pascal Dupuis.

The game featured only the second ever NHL meeting between Saku Koivu, the Canadiens captain, and Wild sophomore Mikko Koivu, who was called for interfering with his older brother in the first period but didn't figure in the scoring.

It also saw referees Wes McCauley and Mick McGeough hand out three diving minors - one to Montreal and two to the Wild.

Outshooting Montreal 38-35, including 21-7 in the second frame, Minnesota may have opened a big lead, but goaltender Cristobal Huet had the 21,273 spectators on their feet with a string of sharp saves during a second-period Wild power play.

Kovalev opened the scoring during a two-man advantage 11:36 into the game when he finished a three-way cycle with Koivu and Michael Ryder.

Begin tipped Mathieu Dandenault's point shot past Backstrom at 14:04.

The Wild finally got one past Huet when Veilleux's shot from the right circle went in off Komisarek at 13:31 of the second period.

After a long run of pressure in the Montreal zone, Dupuis put a wrist shot inside the near post to tie the game at 18:27.

Montreal centre Tomas Plekanec, reunited on the second line with Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov, was called for diving in the first period. He gets an automatic US$1,000 fine for his second diving offence this season. A third call brings a hearing with the league and a possible suspension.

The Wild's Mark Parrish and goaltender Backstrom were both hit for diving will get warning letters from the NHL.

Benoit Pouliot, the fourth overall pick of 2005, made his NHL debut for Minnesota. He was called up Tuesday from Houston.

Notes: - Demitra, who suffered a head injury from an Anton Volchenkov check Monday in Ottawa, sat out along with Walz, who has a bad hip and Gaborik, out since Oct. 21 with a groin injury. Tough guy Derek Boogaard is on injured reserve with a bad ankle. ... Montreal defenceman Francis Bouillon returned from a knee injury for his first game of the season. He played the first period on right wing before moving back to defence. Janne Niinimaa and Aaron Downey were scratched.

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Bonk goal gives Canadiens 4-2 victory over injury-plagued Wild