MONTREAL – It was another big night for Andrei Kostitsyn and his partners on the Montreal Canadiens’ hottest line.
Kostitsyn scored 1:25 into overtime as the Canadiens extended their mastery over the Coyotes on Bell Centre ice with a 3-2 NHL victory over Phoenix on Monday night.
His linemates Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec also had goals, giving that unit 11 of the 20 goals Montreal has scored in eight games this season.
“Last year we played with a lot of combinations but at the end of the year they put together and we did well,” said Cammalleri, who like Kostitsyn ended the game with a goal and an assist. “I believe that the longer you play together the more imaginative you can be offensively.”
Kostitsyn batted a bouncing puck out of the air at the side of the net to beat Ilya Bryzgalov in overtime to end a fast-paced game between two strong skating clubs.
The Canadiens (5-2-1) won a second game in a row.
It was also a sixth straight win over Phoenix on home ice since Oct. 28, 1996.
Kyle Turris, with his third goal in two games, and Derek Morris replied for Phoenix (2-2-3), which was coming off an overtime loss to Carolina. The Coyotes continue a three-game road trip Tuesday night in Ottawa and Thursday in Detroit.
“We were a lot more competitive tonight and that’s a step in the right direction,” said Coyotes veteran Taylor Pyatt. “It was a great atmosphere in here. It’s too bad we didn’t get the two points.”
Kostitsyn was coming off a two-goal effort in a 3-0 win in Ottawa on Saturday night and has four goals in his last four games and five for the season. In 2009-10 season, it took the right winger from Belarus until Dec. 14 to score his fifth goal.
“Our line is in top shape and we feel good with each other,” said Kostitsyn, who leads the team with eight points, one more than Plekanec and two more than Cammalleri. “We’re making good plays and scoring goals.”
He was on the ice without his linemates in overtime when Alexandre Picard got the puck to the net and rookie Lars Eller, who earned his first point since joining the Canadiens from St. Louis this summer, got a stick on the puck for Kostitsyn to bat out of the air past Byzgalov.
Going into the game, Montreal ranked last in the NHL on the power play and Phoenix ranked third-to-last, but both ended droughts with the man advantage.
A power play effort by Morris early in the third frame that tied the score at 2-2 and forced overtime ended an 0-for-17 run by the Coyotes, while Cammalleri’s marker in the second frame ended Montreal’s 0-for-15 skid. For both teams, it was only their second power-play goal of the season.
Shots were even at 29-29 and both Montreal’s Carey Price and the Coyotes’ Ilya Bryzgalov were sharp in goal. Price earned his fifth win of the season, which last season took him until Nov. 17 to attain.
After a scoreless first period, Turris struck at 2:49 of the second with a quick shot from in front after a fine pass from behind the net by Wojtek Wolski.
“I’m just trying to work hard and get open,” said Turris, 21, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft. “Wooly (Wolski) and Uppy (Scottie Upshall) are playing great and we’re feeding off each other.”
Plekanec tied it at 7:14 when his first shot was blocked but got a rebound back from Cammalleri to score into an open side.
Cammalleri walked off the boards and picked the top corner to put Montreal ahead at 9:23.
Morris tied it on a power play 1:01 into the third as his point shot got through heavy traffic and past Price.
It marked the second time brothers Taylor (Phoenix) and Tom (Montreal) Pyatt faced each other in and NHL game. Their parents were in from Thunder Bay, Ont., to see them play together for the first time.
Notes: The Canadiens sat out Dustin Boyd and Ryan O’Byrne. Defenceman Andrei Markov, coming offknee surgery in May, could be back as early as Friday night against the New York Islanders. . . Captain Shane Doan sat out the last of his three-game suspension for a blindside hit on Anaheim’s Dan Sexton and will return Tuesday in Ottawa. Martin Hanzel is out with an injury, while Paul Bissonette and David Schlemko were scratched. . . On a light night of NHL games, 21 teams had scouts at the game.