MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Alex Tanguay scored twice and captain Saku
Koivu had a goal and two assists as the Montreal Canadiens
recorded their fourth victory in a row with a 4-1 triumph over
the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.
Robert Lang also tallied, defenseman Andrei Markov notched two
assists and Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal, which
improved to 7-0-0 with three ties in its last 10 meetings with
Phoenix. The last time the Coyotes defeated the Canadiens was
December 9, 1998.
"Winning is fun right now - we've only lost that first one in
the shootout in Buffalo," Tanguay said. "We're still at the
point where we need to wrap up wins, move up in the standings,
and right now, we are doing that and we're having fun."
Captain Shane Doan scored and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 29 shots
for Phoenix, which finished its four-game road trip with a 1-3-0
Tanguay opened the scoring 6:11 into the first period, accepting
a brilliant backhand pass from Koivu and beating Bryzgalov for
his second tally of the season.
Koivu doubled the advantage just over five minutes later. After
Markov faked a shot from the left point and fed the captain in
the right faceoff circle, Koivu settled the puck and beat an
The tone of the contest quickly changed after Coyotes defenseman
Kurt Sauer leveled Andrei Kostitsyn in the second period,
causing the Belarussian to leave the game. He did not return.
" (Kostitsyn) came over the blue line, he was starting to lay
back and, I don't know, I just hit him," Sauer said. "I didn't
see the replay, but it isn't good when a guy goes down like
that. I don't think it was (a head shot). I don't think I came
up high on him."
"I don't know if it was dirty, but I know (the league is) trying
to erase blows to the head, and I think timing is part of the
game and hitting's part of the game," Montreal coach Guy
Carbonneau said. "(Sauer) pushed himself forward to try and
make a hit, and his arm was up."
Although no penalty was called, brother Sergei Kostitsyn came
out on the next shift and physically stepped up his game,
drawing a roughing penalty after checking defenseman David Hale
behind the Coyotes' net.
Later in the session, Tom Kostopoulos challenged Sauer to a
fight, with less-than-desirable results. Tanguay added his
second goal of the game 66 seconds later to give the Canadiens a
"It was just a reaction. (I'm) starting to know Saku, know what
he's going to do a little bit," Tanguay said of the tally.
"There's always somebody in front. I just hung back and he made
a beautiful pass through a lot of guys, and then I just had to
make sure to take my time and not miss the net and put it in."
The remainder of the second period proved to be contentious,
with Montreal enforcer Georges Laraque being whistled for a
two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct and a five-minute fighting
penalty with Todd Fedoruk.
"The league punishes blows to the head, so you can't just go
after a guy and jump on him - especially me," Laraque said. "I
thought we responded well in a moderate way to show we didn't
like it, but again, you have to be careful. You don't want to
get five or 10 games (as a suspension). Then who won?"
Lang extended the advantage to 4-0 with 56 seconds remaining in
the second period, taking advantage of Daniel Winnik's turnover
in his own end and quickly wristing the puck past Bryzgalov for
a power-play tally.
Doan spoiled Price's bid for a shutout midway through the third
period with his fourth of the season.
"He stoned me on the first one, what a save on the first one,
and we needed that one a lot more," Doan said of a first-period
save by Price, who also is his cousin. "He came up with the big
save when he needed. I think it was a 1-0 game there. If I
score it's 1-1, it's a different game."