Canadiens Bite Sharks In OT


Defenseman Craig Rivet doesn't score a lot, but he makes his goals count.

Rivet scored his first goal of the season 3:50 into overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

Martin Rucinsky and Sergei Zholtok also scored for the Canadiens, who extended their unbeaten streak to three games.

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  • Jeff Friesen and Vincent Damphousse each had a goal and assist for the Sharks, who are unbeaten in their last four games and remain on top of the Pacific Division with 31 points, most in the NHL.

    San Jose, fourth in the NHL in power-play percentage, scored both of its goals on the power play. Montreal had allowed just three power-play goals in its previous 13 games (48 opportunities) and was third in the league in penalty killing.

    Rivet, who has four career goals in 195 games, had attempted just three shots all season before his game-winner.

    "Basically it was a 3-on-3 and I was the trailer," Rivet said. "I kept calling for Sergei (Zholtok) to drop it off to me. I made a couple of moves and got it by him."

    That's about the same way San Jose goalkeeper Mike Vernon saw it.

    "The guy skates down the middle, got through everybody, beats me, game over," Vernon said.

    The Sharks took a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. Owen Nolan took a shot from the right side of the slot that bounced off Mntreal goaltender Jose Theodore's pads right to Damphousse, who tapped it over to Friesen on the left side. Friesen then beat Theodore to the stick side for his 11th goal of the season.

    The Canadiens tied it less than two minutes into the second period when Oleg Petrov picked up a loose puck and slapped it in front of the net where Zholtok wristed it inside Vernon's right leg.

    "It was a broken play," Zholtok said. "I saw a couple of openings and took my best shot."

    San Jose again took the lead at 8:32 of the second period when Damphousse beat Theodore on the power play from the slot on a pass from Nolan.

    "We got such a lift when we had those power plays," Vernon said. "Then it was like we had a big letdown after that. It was just fundamental mental breakdowns that were costly."

    Montreal, who scored twice on four shots in the second period, tied the game at 2-2 four minutes later. Trevor Linden found Rucinsky, who beat Vernon for his ninth goal of the year.

    "Sometimes it isn't always the most talented team that gets the win," Rivet said. "It's the team which plays the hardest."

    Added Zohltok: "This was our best team effort yet. It's a big win and a big boast for our confidence."

    Linden has scored a point in nine of his last 12 games. Theodore recorded 26 saves.

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