Huet, Perezhogin combine to hand Thrashers fourth straight lossNov 19, 2006 - 3:25 AM
Huet made 39 saves and Alexander Perezhogin scored the game-winner in the third period as the Montreal Canadiens completed a special night with a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
Prior to the game, the Canadiens retired the jersey of long-time defenseman Serge Savard, who won eight Stanley Cup championships in his 14 seasons with the franchise.
The Hall of Famer had to be delighted with what he saw from Montreal's current defensive star as Huet allowed one goal or fewer for the fourth time in five games. He has yielded no more than three tallies in nine consecutive contests and is 6-2-2 on the season.
"It was probably the best defensive effort of the year," Huet said. "We gave them a lot of shots, but not a lot of scoring chances."
The ceremony delayed the game 40 minutes, but nobody seemed to mind.
"That's something Mr. Savard fully deserves," Atlanta coach Bob Hartley said. "It was an honor to play in tonight's game and see his number go up to the rafters."
"It might be more special for me than maybe the (numbers we have retired) before because of the past (Savard and I) have," Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. "I don't care how many times you go through those ceremonies, it's very touching, very emotional. It's a really good feeling to be part of those things."
The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead late in the first period when Michael Ryder netted his fifth goal. Defenseman Sheldon Souray took a slap shot from the left point that was blocked in front, but Ryder pounced on the loose puck in the left faceoff circle and rifled a shot into the top left corner of the net.
Glen Metropolit drew Atlanta even 3:30 into the third period, but Perezhogin gave the advantage back to Montreal roughly three minutes later.
Defenseman Andrei Markov sent a pass ahead to Perezhogin, who had snuck behind the defense, and the second-year right wing chipped the puck over the left shoulder of goaltender Johan Hedberg for just his second tally in 19 games this season.
"That was a tough play. It was a bad bounce," Hartley said. "We worked hard and executed well. Both goalies played well. It was up and down hockey."
Radek Bonk deposited an empty-netter with 1:14 left to seal the Canadiens' third win in four contests.
"We knew we had to come out and play tough defense," Montreal right wing Mike Johnson said. "They have so much talent. If you try to run and gun with them, you'll lose."
Hedberg turned aside 30 shots, but the Thrashers still lost their fourth straight game.
"I think the bottom line is we've been giving up too many easy goals," Atlanta center Steve Rucchin said. "We've been giving up a lot of them and that has nothing to do with our goaltending. We've been making too many mistakes around our own net to give up easy chances. That's the difference."
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