Habs Skate Past Canucks

The Montreal Canadiens have been unstoppable since tasting last place in the Eastern Conference.

Sergei Zholtok scored with less than eight minutes left to lift the Canadiens to their fourth consecutive win, 2-1 Saturday night over the Vancouver Canucks.

Since dropping to 4-14-1 after losing at Nashville on Nov. 18 to begin a four-game road trip, Montreal won its next three games in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.

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  • "I think that's the biggest thing we've learned over the past few games whatever the score is we still continue to play the same game, from the first to the last minute and I think it's paid off."

    Zholtok, who also assisted on Karl Dykhuis first-period goal, took a pass from Dainius Zubrus and put a backhander past goaltender Garth Snow at 12:20 of the third to break a 1-1 tie with his sixth goal of the season.

    "It was basically a three-on-one break and so I just passed the puck to Zubie and went to the net," Zholtok said. "He returned it to me, I faked a shot and (put it through the) five hole."

    Snow, who made 20 saves, acknowledged Zholtok's deke caught him off guard.

    "I would have loved to get that last goal back," Snow said. "Zholtok made a really good move on me I wasn't expecting it."

    "We're still going home from what hasn't been a very successful road trip in first place," Snow said.

    Andrew Cassels scored his sixth goal at 6:34 of the third to tie the game for Vancouver, ending goaltender Jose Theodore's shutout streak at 91 mintes, 52 seconds. Theodore finished with 20 saves.

    Vancouver, which leads the Northwest Division, is winless in its last four games.

    Two fights broke out within the first minute of the game. Vancouver's Donald Brashear squared off with Jim Cummins 32 seconds into the contest, and Montreal's Aron Asham took on Dave Scatchard just 18 seconds later.

    Neither team managed a shot on goal until Vancouver's Bill Muckalt tested Theodore 7:30 into the game.

    Montreal took the initial lead on Dykhuis' third goal, at 8:53 of the first. Dykhuis got to a rebound in the slot off Zholtok's shot and snapped a wrist shot past Snow.

    Cassels tied the game when he jumped on Steve Kariya's pass from behind the Montreal net and snapped a shot from the slot past Theodore with 13:26 left in the game.

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