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Canadiens extend win streak to four with victory over Jets

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL -- After bottoming out last season, the Montreal Canadiens appear to be determined to stay as far away from the Eastern Conference cellar as possible.

Tomas Plekanec scored a power-play goal 5:31 into the third period and Montreal extended its winning streak to four games with a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night.

Rene Bourque scored on a power play in the first for the Canadiens, who also got goals from rookie Brendan Gallagher and Erik Cole to end Winnipeg's three-game winning streak.

"We have some bad shifts but we're able to come back stronger with better ones, more focus to stay with the game plan, stay with the game that we want to play, and I think that's what was falling apart last year," Plekanec said.

Montreal improved to 4-1 under new head coach Michel Therrien, who is in his second stint behind the team's bench. Therrien, who took Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup finals in 2008, had a 77-77-36 mark in his first tenure with the Canadiens from 2000 to 2003.

He replaced interim coach Randy Cunneyworth, who was not retained by new general manager Marc Bergevin after the Canadiens finished in 15th place, last overall, in the Eastern Conference last season with a 31-35-16 mark.

Carey Price made 18 saves, and Andrei Markov, Raphael Diaz and 18-year-old rookie Alex Galchenyuk each had two assists.

"I think we're sticking to our system really well," Price said. "They obviously scored some goals but they capitalized on a couple of opportunities and we just stuck with the game plan."

Blake Wheeler, Nik Antropov and Olli Jokinen scored for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 22 shots.

Winnipeg scored three unanswered goals after Gallagher scored for a second consecutive game 14:22 in to put Montreal up 2-0.

"You can't keep giving up goals early in the first period and expect that you're going to come back," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "It's just not the right way to play. We talked about that today. ... That's just a recipe for disaster."

Wheeler drew the Jets within 2-1 with his third goal on a power play at 16:10.

Antropov tied it at 2 with his first goal of the season 3:32 into the second, three seconds after Montreal's Lars Eller returned from serving a holding penalty.

Jokinen scored his first Jets goal at 11:48 on a pass from Evander Kane to give Winnipeg a 3-2 lead.

Cole drew Montreal even at 3-3 with his first goal at 15:08, three seconds after Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov's interference penalty expired.

The Canadiens went 2 for 5 with the man advantage. Winnipeg converted one of six power-play opportunities.

"At the end of the night it came down to specialty teams," Jokinen said. "They were able to get a power-play goal and we were unable to capitalize on our power-play chances, and that was the difference tonight."

Bourque scored on a power-play 8:04 in. He drove a one-timer past Pavelec from the top of the right faceoff circle.

Antropov's hit on Brandon Prust in front of the Canadiens' bench drew a boarding penalty at 13:52 of the third. Winnipeg ended up with a power play, though, when David Desharnais was given a roughing minor for going after Antropov and Prust was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"We did a good job killing it off and that's a good character win for our team," said Gallagher, who has three points in four games.

NOTES: The Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise entered Tuesday night's game with a 16-26-2 overall mark against Montreal. The Canadiens won three of four against Winnipeg last season. ... Jets right wing Chris Thorburn fought with Montreal's Travis Moen at 14:25 of the first, right off the faceoff following Gallagher's goal. ... Mark Scheifele was left out of Winnipeg's lineup for a third straight game. Defenseman Zach Redmond and right wing Anthony Peluso have yet to dress for the Jets this season. ... Defenseman P.K. Subban will join the Canadiens in Ottawa on Wednesday, two days after signing a two-year, $5.75-million contract. Subban, who was a restricted free agent, missed Montreal's first five games of the season and is not expected to play before the weekend. ... The Canadiens will complete their first of nine sets of back-to-back games this season when they play the Senators on Wednesday. Montreal will host Buffalo and Ottawa this weekend in the team's traditional pair of Super Bowl weekend matinee games at the Bell Centre.
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