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Kostitsyn's go-ahead goal helps Habs stave off comeback by Thrashers

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

MONTREAL - Andrei Kostitsyn scored the go-ahead goal and added two assists as the Montreal Canadiens blew a three-goal lead in 59 seconds but recovered to defeat the Atlanta Thrashers 5-4 Tuesday night.

Matt D'Agostini scored his first career goal while Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov and Robert Lang also scored for the Canadiens (14-6-4), who won their second straight and third in four games.

The Thrashers (8-13-3) scored three goals in a franchise record 59-second span in the third to erase a 3-0 deficit, with the final two goals came only seven seconds apart to set another franchise mark.

Former Canadien Ron Hainsey scored the first two goals for Atlanta while Chris Thorburn also scored to complete the flurry, but the Thrashers still lost their fourth in a row and seventh in eight games.

Jason Williams added a goal with 20 seconds remaining to make it 5-4.

Thrashers head coach John Anderson placed struggling sniper Ilya Kovalchuk on a checking line with Thorburn and Marty Reasoner for the entire game, and they combined to produce the goal that tied it momentarily in the third.

Carey Price made 22 saves to win his third straight start, while Johan Hedberg stopped 28 shots in the Atlanta net.

Saku Koivu got two assists to reach 612 career points and tie Mats Naslund for 11th place on the Canadiens all-time list, first among European players.

Kostitsyn's three points gives him five in his last two games after getting only seven points in his first 19.

With Montreal ahead 3-0 in the third, the Thrashers got the comeback going when Hainsey's point shot beat Price over his right arm at 6:28.

Hainsey struck again on the power play, posting himself right in front of Price and cashing in a Bryan Little feed at 7:20.

Thorburn then tied it as 7:27 as Kovalchuk got the puck off the centre-ice faceoff, fed Reasoner to create a 2-on-1 and Thorburn one-timed the pass inside the near post.

Kostitsyn gave Montreal back the lead at 14:49 when he beat two Thrsahers to a loose puck and came in on goal, with his attempted pass to D'Agostini bouncing in off a sliding Tobias Enstrom for his fifth of the year.

Lang scored into an empty net at 18:45, and that turned out to be the winner as Williams put a wrist shot in high on Price's glove side at 19:40.

The Canadiens opened the scoring late in the first when Kostitsyn tried a wraparound that was stopped by Hedberg, but D'Agostini fought off a Todd White check to pot the rebound at 16:21. Koivu immediately grabbed the linesman to retrieve the puck for the rookie.

Montreal went ahead 2-0 at 14:22 of the second when Plekanec stepped over the blue line and fired a slap shot that got through Hedberg for his sixth of the year, but only his second in his last 12 games.

The Canadiens power play produced after a two-game drought as Lang's soft wrister from the point produced a rebound that bounced out to Markov, who put it in an empty net at 19:04 for his fourth of the year.

Notes: Canadiens D Ryan O'Byrne sat out a second straight game as a healthy scratch, while wingers Sergei Kostitsyn and Guillaume Latendresse were healthy scratches for the first time this seasonThrashers D Mathieu Schneider was out of the lineup after sustaining an upper body injury in Atlanta's 4-2 loss to St. Louis on Sunday night


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