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Canadiens ride strong first period to top Sharks

MONTREAL (Ticker) -- All-Star defenseman Andrei Markov and

captain Saku Koivu recorded a goal and an assist apiece as the

Montreal Canadiens scored three times in the first period and

held on for a 3-2 triumph over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

Blue-liner Josh Gorges also scored and Jaroslav Halak turned

aside 44 shots for Montreal, which secured its fourth win in a

row since a 3-11-1 stretch in its previous 15 games.

Joe Pavelski and All-Star Joe Thornton scored 49 seconds apart

in the second period and Brian Boucher finished with 18 saves

for San Jose, which fell to 5-2-0 in its last seven contests.

Markov opened the scoring with 8:55 remaining in the first

period after unleashing a blast from the point past Boucher for

his ninth goal of the season.

Gorges doubled the advantage just 2:22 later after tapping in a

centering feed from Matt D'Agostini for his third tally of the

campaign.

Koivu gave Montreal a 3-0 lead after accepting a feed from

Markov and beating Boucher with 2:13 remaining in the session.

Pavelski put San Jose on the scoreboard 66 seconds into the

second period after tucking the puck past Halak and Thornton

tallied shortly thereafter by beating Halak under the crossbar

for his 16th goal of the season.

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