for this game

Kovalev helps Canadiens reach seventh place in playoff chase

Mar 28, 2007 - 4:48 AM
MONTREAL (Ticker) -- The Montreal Canadiens had no problem solving the league's hottest goaltender.

Alexei Kovalev scored two goals and captain Saku Koivu had three assists en route to a 6-4 win over the New York Rangers.

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was named first star in the NHL on Monday, having allowed just three goals on the last 145 shots entering the game, but allowed four goals on just 15 shots against Montreal.

The veteran netminder was pulled with 10:12 remaining in the second period and replaced by rookie Stephen Valiquette.

"He's been playing really well and we talked about that and about getting some traffic in front of him and try to rattle his cage a little bit," center Christopher Higgins said. "He played well in the first but the power play was (strong) in the second and there wasn't a lot he could do on those goals anyway."

The Rangers jumped out to a two-goal lead with first-period tallies by Michael Nylander and Paul Mara, but surrendered five unanswered goals in the second period and did not recover.

"I think we just came out and played the way we have been over the last several weeks (in the first period) and then we came out in the second and took some penalties putting the number one power play in the league out there," Rangers assistant captain Brendan Shanahan said. "That gave their team a chance to get the crowd back into it, their team back into it and they took advantage of it."

Kovalev scored the first Canadiens goal with a wrist shot just inside the post on a power play 2:11 into the second. The veteran right wing scored the game-winner 12 minutes later, tapping in a rebound at the 14:09 mark for his 18th goal of the season. Koivu assisted on both tallies.

"We got the bounces I guess we needed, it's something to build on and gain confidence," Koivu said, "Things are looking a bit better for us right now."

The Canadiens now share seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race with Tampa Bay at 86 points, two points ahead of Toronto, Carolina and the New York Islanders.

"The closer we get to the end the more valuable these points are going to be," Koivu said. "These guys were three points ahead of us before the game it was like a play off game for us, a must win, we were able to feel that the first 10-15 minutes in, the crowd was really into it and (it was really a playoff) atmosphere."

"There is no easy week in the NHL, I don't care what people say, so for us every game is important," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "Tonight was our biggest game of the season, now Friday (in Ottawa) will be our biggest game of the season."

The Rangers, who had a five-game winning streak snapped, now hold a slim one-point lead over Montreal and Tampa Bay for sixth.

"It's always a set back when you lose but I don't think that we felt we were going to win every game for the rest of the season," Shanahan said. "We have played some great hockey and won some games that have afforded us somewhat of a cushion and I don't think that we've dropped any places now, but we've got to get right back at it and turn things around next game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 2 0 2 4
    MONTREAL 0 5 1 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MICHAEL NYLANDER 24 (BRENDAN SHANAHAN, MICHAL
    ROZSIVAL) 11:55
    NYR - PAUL MARA 5 (SEAN AVERY, PETR PRUCHA) 19:15
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 17 (SAKU KOIVU) 2:17
    MON - STEVE BEGIN 5 (RADEK BONK) 2:49

    Mar 27 10:20 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 4
    MONTREAL 6
    3RD PRD: MON - MARK STREIT 9 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV) 13:03

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 10:07 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 4
    MONTREAL 5
    3RD PRD: NYR - MATT CULLEN 16 (MAREK MALIK) 7:38

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 9:58 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 3
    MONTREAL 5
    3RD PRD: NYR - THOMAS POCK 3 (BRENDAN SHANAHAN, MARTIN STRAKA) 6:23

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 9:54 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 2 0 2
    MONTREAL 0 5 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MICHAEL NYLANDER 24 (BRENDAN SHANAHAN, MICHAL
    ROZSIVAL) 11:55
    NYR - PAUL MARA 5 (SEAN AVERY, PETR PRUCHA) 19:15
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 17 (SAKU KOIVU) 2:17
    MON - STEVE BEGIN 5 (RAD

    Mar 27 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    MONTREAL 5
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 18 (SAKU KOIVU, ANDREI MARKOV)
    14:09

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    MONTREAL 4
    2ND PRD: MON - TOMAS PLEKANEC 20 (ANDREI KOSTITSYN, MIKE KOMISAREK)
    9:47

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 8:57 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    MONTREAL 3
    2ND PRD: MON - MICHAEL RYDER 26 (MARK STREIT, SAKU KOIVU) 4:36

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 8:45 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    MONTREAL 2
    2ND PRD: MON - STEVE BEGIN 5 (RADEK BONK) 2:49

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    MONTREAL 1
    2ND PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 17 (SAKU KOIVU) 2:17

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 2 2
    MONTREAL 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MICHAEL NYLANDER 24 (BRENDAN SHANAHAN, MICHAL
    ROZSIVAL) 11:55
    NYR - PAUL MARA 5 (SEAN AVERY, PETR PRUCHA) 19:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 12

    Mar 27 8:16 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 2
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - PAUL MARA 5 (SEAN AVERY, PETR PRUCHA) 19:15

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 8:16 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    MONTREAL 0
    1ST PRD: NYR - (PP) MICHAEL NYLANDER 24 (BRENDAN SHANAHAN, MICHAL
    ROZSIVAL) 11:55

    Rangers vs. CanadiensMar 27 8:04 PM