Kovalev, Markov lift Canadiens past Blackhawks

MONTREAL (AP) — Alex Kovalev scored for a fourth straight game
25 seconds in and assisted on Andrei Markov’s power-play goal to
lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 win over the Chicago
Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

Facing former goaltending partner Cristobal Huet, Carey Price
came within 7:42 of recording his first shutout in over four
months but allowed Patrick Sharp’s 26th goal. Price made 28
saves as he and the Canadiens improved to 3-0-1 in their last
four games.

Guillaume Latendresse and Mathieu Schneider also scored for
Montreal, which remained in eighth place in the Eastern
Conference with 88 points.

Kovalev scored his 23rd goal when he beat Huet with Montreal’s
first shot as the Canadiens took advantage of Duncan Keith’s
blind back pass behind his net. He has scored five times during
his streak.

Huet stopped 29 shots in his first start in two weeks. He faced
his former team for the first time since he was traded to
Washington on Feb. 26, 2008.

Sharp mustered the only offense for Chicago, which lost its
second in a row following a 3-0-2 run that included a three-game
winning streak.

Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn got 19 minutes in penalties
13:34 into the first for instigating a fight with Aaron Johnson.
Kostitsyn had an unsportsmanlike conduct minor tacked on to his
instigator, fighting major, and misconduct when he went after
Johnson after the Chicago defenseman checked his brother,
Sergei, into the boards behind the Blackhawks net.

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Sergei Kostitsyn left the game with an upper body injury and
didn’t return. Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik also sustained
an upper body injury in the second period that knocked him out
of the game.

Latendresse made it a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal 6:12 into the
second period. Latendresse shot his own rebound off Huet and the
puck flipped high in the air before sailing behind the
Blackhawks goalie into the net.

Price kept his left pad stuck on the right post to deny Dave
Bolland’s deke attempt moments later.

Markov scored his 11th goal on a power play 15:52 into the
second to increase Montreal’s lead to three.

Sharp made it 3-1 when he spoiled Price’s bid for his first
shutout since Nov. 11.

Markov added an assist for his team-leading 62nd point on
Schneider’s power-play goal at 16:43.

The Canadiens, who are celebrating their 100th season, were
originally scheduled to wear “barber pole” throwback jerseys
honoring the 1912-13 team.

Previously worn during a 3-1 loss to Boston on Feb. 1, the
sweaters and socks featuring narrow, horizontal bands of red,
white and blue were set aside in favor of retro uniforms for the
1915-16 team that more closely resemble Montreal’s current red