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Bonk snaps tie to lift Canadiens past Wild

Nov 23, 2006 - 3:33 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Not known as a goal scorer in recent seasons, Radek Bonk is beginning to find his rhythm for the Montreal Canadiens.

Bonk snapped a third-period tie and Alexei Kovalev added his sixth tally of the season as the Canadiens won for the fourth time in five games with a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

A two-time All-Star in 2000-01, the 30-year-old Bonk scored for the second consecutive game for Montreal, which raised its home record to 6-2-2 after its only meeting of the season with Minnesota.

Bonk gave the Canadiens the lead for good with 7:27 remaining when he lifted the puck over goaltender Niklas Backstrom after a mad scramble in front. It was his fifth goal of the season, one shy of last season's disappointing total.

"It was borderline (to being whistled dead)," Bonk said. "(The puck) just went in under his glove. Lucky for us, (the referee) didn't stop the play. I got one shot and just followed through. I didn't look around. I just set my eyes on the puck. It was a good goal for us."

"I think the puck was under me but I couldn't see it and nobody else could see it," Backstrom said. "I think it was a really bad call. You try and say something but there isn't much you can do."

Montreal took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to jump in front with 8:24 left in the first period. Captain Saku Koivu made a cross-crease feed to a wide-open Kovalev at the right post, where he scored his sixth tally of the season.

The Canadiens widened the lead to 2-0 just 2:28 later when Steve Begin tipped defenseman Mathieu Dandeneault's shot past Backstrom.

"That's what you have to do in front of the net," Begin said. "My back was to the goalie and Dandenault took a good shot and I saw it coming. I wanted to make it go higher or lower to fool the goalie."

Minnesota began its comeback bid with 6:29 remaining in the second period as defenseman Kim Johnsson found Stephane Veilleux, who fired from the right boards and scored his third goal of the season over netminder Cristobal Huet's left shoulder.

Pascal Dupuis tied the game for the Wild with 1:33 left in the middle session when his shot grazed off defenseman Mike Komisarek's leg and past Huet for his fourth tally of the campaign.

"We sat on it a bit and we knew (the Wild) was a team that was going to keep working," Montreal defemseman Sheldon Souray said. "We sat back and took some shortcuts, and that's a team that lives on turnovers. They brought it to us in the second." We woke up in the third and were able to fight through it."

Huet made 36 saves and raised his record to 7-2-2.

"I think the whole game, Cristobal was awesome for us with big saves," Souray said. "He was a big part of this win."

"We're getting better day after day but tonight, we were watching them in the second," Begin said. "We knew they were a tough team to play, always first to the puck. We came back in the third and skated with them. That got us the win."

Making just his sixth appearance of the season, Backstrom stopped 31 shots for the Wild, who have dropped eight of 11 games after winning nine of their first 10.

"We're feeling pretty good even if we are kind of in a little hole as a team," Veilleux said. "We're working hard. It's just that the bounces don't go our way. Then you have to work twice as hard to turn it our way eventually."

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