Canadiens 6, Blackhawks 4

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MONTREAL (AP)—Niklas Sundstrom’s rare offensive outburst kept the Chicago Blackhawks from winning for coach Brian Sutter.

Sundstrom had a goal and two assists, and the Montreal Canadiens spoiled Sutter’s 1,000th regular-season game with a 6-4 win Sunday.

Sundstrom, a checking-line winger who entered with 11 points in 45 games, assisted on first-period goals by defenseman Patrice Brisebois and Sheldon Souray to help Montreal build a 4-1 lead midway through the second.

Trailing by four going into the third, Chicago drew to 5-4 before Sundstrom thwarted the comeback bid when he scored into an empty net with 50 seconds remaining.

“That’s what I need to score,” said Sundstrom, who had just his third multi-point game of the season.

Sutter, who also coached St. Louis, Boston, and Calgary, became the 10th coach in NHL history to reach 1,000 career games.

“Not too many coaches have come here, and not too many more will come, and to see Brian coaching his 1,000th game, we wanted to make sure that we put on a really good effort trying to get a win for him, and we came extremely close to tying it,” said Blackhawks right wing Steve Sullivan, who closed it to 5-4 with his second goal of the game.

Trailing 5-1 after the second, Chicago fought back on goals by Kyle Calder, Alexei Zhamnov and Sullivan.

“We played great for 40 minutes, and then in the third, I don’t really know what happened,” Sundstrom said.

Although Sundstrom’s empty-net goal spoiled the comeback, Sutter appreciated the effort.

“It takes a lot of character and pride to play in this league and you want to be associated with guys like that,” Sutter said.

Jan Bulis, Steve Begin and Mike Ribeiro also scored for Montreal, which won for the second time in three games following a three-game losing streak.

“Even though we were up 5-1, it doesn’t mean we played well,” said Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore, who faced 41 shots, including 21 in the third.

Brisebois, who failed to score through his first 44 games of the season, opened the scoring just 43 seconds in with his second goal in three games.

Souray, who leads all NHL defensemen in goals scored, scored with eight seconds left in the first, ending a nine-game points drought since he registered six points in an 8-0 win in Pittsburgh on Jan. 10.

Sullivan scored the first of his two goals just 31 seconds into the second.

But the Canadiens added two more by the midway point of the period to chase Blackhawks goalie Steve Passmore, who left trailing 4-1.

After Ribeiro beat Craig Anderson—who replaced Passmore—for Montreal’s fifth goal late in the second, Chicago mounted a comeback bid in the third.

Calder deflected Bryan Berard’s shot past goalie Jose Theodore for apower-play goal, and Zhamnov scored to make it 5-3.


Sutter coached his 218th game for Chicago. Of the 10 coaches in NHL history to reach the milestone, five coached the Blackhawks at some point in their careers. … Chicago recalled F Matt Ellison from Norfolk of the AHL earlier in the day. Ellison made his NHL debut in the game, assisting onZhamnov’s goal. … Theodore ended a personal four-game losing streak.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
N. Sundstrom N. Sundstrom
Montreal Canadiens
Scored at 19:10 of 3rd


Goalie Team Shot Save
Steve Passmore Ari 12 8