Habs Ground Ducks, Stop Slide


The drought is over for the Montreal Canadiens.

Martin Rucinsky scored for the fourth straight game and Sergei Zholtok got his first goal of the season as Montreal stopped a nine-game winless skid with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Thursday night.

"We came in here and we just looked at each other and everybody was just pumped," Rucinsky said. "You could see the energy inside this room because everybody wanted to get it done. We didn't do it in the last few games so it was just nice for us to do it."

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  • Jeff Hackett stopped 24 shots as the Canadiens won for the first time since beating Buffalo on Oct. 16. Montreal had gone 0-8-1 in that span.

    "When you're a competitor, you want the team to do well," Hackett said. "It just eats you up, what's been going on around here, and I've been miserable. Hopefully we can go and win for the next three weeks because the last three weeks have been miserable."

    The victory was also just Montreal's second at the Molson Centre this season.

    The Canadiens, who have the second fewest points in the league with 10, have scored more than two goals in just three of 17 games this season.

    "Tonight was a very big character test," Hackett said. "Everyone was tired, everyone was disappointed, but we were able to suck it up and get the two points. It was almost like we had to relearn how to win. We've got to keep remembering how to do this and keep moving forward now."

    Matt Cullen had the lone goal for the Mighty Ducks.

    "We didn't have any room at all tonight," Anaheim's Teemu Selanne said. "We had no speed. We didn't have anything. I can't figure out how the Canadiens only have three or four wins. They look like a much better team. We'll just have to work harder from now on."

    Rucinsky opened the scoring 10:21 into the first period when he completed a give-and-go passing play with Trevor Linden by sliding the puck past Mighty Ducks goaltender Guy Hebert.

    The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead 3:47 into the second period when Zholtok beat Hebert from the slot after taking a pass from Jim Cummins.

    Anaheim drew to 2-1 as Cullen beat Hackett through the legs 9:16 into the second.

    The Mighty Ducks outshot the Canadiens 25-24.

    All three goals were scored at even strength as referee Dan O'Halloran called just three minor penalties in the game, two against Montreal in the first period and one against Anaheim in the third.

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