The Montreal Canadiens returned to the kind of hockey that has made them one of the top teams in the NHL’s Eastern Conference in recording a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre. After blowing a 2-0 lead and playing poorly in Philadelphia on Monday, they bounced back with a solid team checking performance against the team that leads the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

It was a relatively easy night for Carey Price who had deal with only six solid scoring chances among the Kings 25 shots on goal.

Andrei Kostitsyn, Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller scored for the Canadiens. It was Eller’s first goal in a Canadiens uniform. Alec Martinez scored for Los Angeles.

It was Carey Price’s league leading 13th win of the season. His goals against average dropped to an even 2.00 and his save percentage is now .933.

The Canadiens will play in Atlanta Friday night and return home to play Buffalo on Saturday.

Summing It Up – In the Los Angeles dressing room after the game Ryan Smyth called the Canadiens the “most structured team” the Kings have had to deal with this season . On this night, the Jacques Martin coaching came to the forefront. After a miserable night in Philadelphia Monday the Canadiens were back with the programme. Price was very good on an early shot in the game by the Kings Wayne Simmonds and made two saves in the final ten minutes on leftwinger Kyle Clifford. Outside of that, the protective wall was there the entire night. The three stars were Kostitsyn, Eller and Cammalleri. A nice night for Eller who, along with scoring his first goal as a Canadien was effective at both ends of the ice. Others who had a good night include Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez, who was around the net a lot again with nothing to show. And on defence, Alexandre Picard was particularly noticable. The coach was much happier after this game than he was Monday night.

How It Went

The First Period

Early Test – The Kings, who had lost their last game in Ottawa on a couple of disallowed goals came out skating and tested Carey Price four times in the first five minutes, most notably a screen shot by Davis Drewiske at 2:05.

Gaining Control- The Canadiens first shot on Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier was a good one from Maxim Lapierre. A minute later Pyatt and Lapierre were foiled on a two-on-one.

All Teamwork – In the tenth minute, on a Canadiens power play, P.K. Subban was the only one back as Anze Kopitar broke loose. Subban limited Kopitar to a weak shot and Subban swept away the rebound and played the puck ahead to Darche who in turn gave it to Kostitsyn. Kostitsyn, coming of the right wing rifled the puck past Bernier to make it 1-0. Power play goal. Only Kostitsyn’s second goal in 13 games.

Eller Checks In – At the 14.00 minute mark Benoit Pouliot took a shot. On the rebound Lars Eller fed it back to Mathieu Darche. Bernier stopped both shots.

Four-On-Four – Scott Gomez back to Hamrlik who fed Cammalleri who blasted it from 30 feet. Gomez was in front of Bernier, who saw nothing of the shot. The goal was originally credited to Gomez, who told the goal judge he never touched it. Cammalleri’s seventh goal of the season. End of the first period; 2-0 Canadiens. Shots on goal 10-9 Montreal.

The Second Period

Not Again ?? Hal Gill was called for interference at the 20 second mark of the period. A minute and a half later with Ryan Smyth interferering with Price while he was trying to get across to cover a rebound on the shot by Justin Williams, Alex Martinez scored to make it 2-1. Visions of Monday night’s blow 2-0 lead popping into the Canadiens heads.

Regrouping – 1:19 later Kostitsyn led an end to end rush that led to a shot on goal. Gionta got the puck and sent it out to Plekanec for his 8th goal of the season. Canadiens restore the two goal lead.

The Takeover – The rest of the period the Canadiens outshot the Kings 12-4. They took their 20th shot on goal in the game at 9:41 of the period. At that point he total shots were 20-11.

Breathing Room – With 1:53 remaining in the period, defenseman Alexandre Picard, who was having an excellent game, rocketed a 50 foot shot off Bernier’s left goalpost. Lars Eller, took the rebound, wheeled and fired the puck in for his first goal as a member of the Canadiens. After two periods the Canadiens led 4-1. The Canadiens outshot Los Angeles 15-7 in the second period.

The Third Period

More Eller – The star of the third period was Eller, who had a good chance in front on a setup from Pouliot at 2:15. And at 8:59 he set up Hamrlik and Moen in front for close in chances.

Price Closes It Out – The best saves of the night came in the final ten minutes. Price stopped Kyle Clifford from 10 feet, taking the shot off his shoulder at 10:15. And then in the 16th minute Price was very sharp on Clifford again after a goalmouth pass from Ryan Smyth. Final score – Montreal-4 Los Angeles -1. Shots on goal in the third period 9-8 Los Angeles.

The Goalscorers – Montreal – Kostitsyn (8th) PPG (Darche-Subban); Cammalleri (7th) (Hamrlik-Gomez); Plekanec (8th) (Gionta-Kostitsyn); Eller (1st) (Picard-Pouliot). Los Angeles – Martinez (1st) PPG (Williams)

Shots on Goal – Los Angeles 9-7-9 = 25 Montreal 10-15-8 = 33

The Three Stars – First – Andrei Kostiitsyn (1 goals 1 assist – 2 shots) Second – Lars Eller (1 goal – 2 shots) Third – Michael Cammalleri (1 goal – 3 shots)

THE FENWICK/CORSI NUMBERS

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20311 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 1 0 8 6 3 1 5 3 5 3
20311 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 1 0 4 4 2 3 0 1 4 -3
20311 MTL 13 – L – CAMMALLERI, MICHAEL 1 0 4 6 2 3 -2 1 6 -7
20311 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 1 0 7 6 1 2 1 5 8 -2
20311 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 0 0 4 6 2 2 -2 2 7 -7
20311 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 1 0 7 8 2 2 0 4 6 -2
20311 MTL 26 – D – GORGES, JOSH 1 0 6 6 3 5 -1 4 10 -7
20311 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 3 0 22 18 7 7 7 9 19 -3
20311 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 0 4 4 3 3 0 1 5 -4
20311 MTL 40 – C – LAPIERRE, MAXIM 0 0 6 5 1 2 0 2 6 -4
20311 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 1 0 6 6 3 1 3 3 6 0
20311 MTL 45 – D – PICARD, ALEXANDRE 1 0 10 5 1 1 6 2 3 5
20311 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 1 0 9 8 2 2 2 6 7 1
20311 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 1 0 4 0 1 0 6 1 0 7
20311 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 1 0 6 0 1 0 8 1 1 8
20311 MTL 75 – D – GILL, HAL 1 0 6 7 3 5 -2 4 11 -9
20311 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 1 0 8 6 1 1 3 2 4 1
20311 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 1 0 7 3 2 0 7 2 0 9
20311 MTL 94 – C – PYATT, TOM 0 0 4 3 2 2 1 1 6 -4