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Canadiens open 3-0 for first time since '78-'79

TORONTO (AP) -- Mike Ribeiro made up for three missed scoring
chances.

Ribeiro scored with 4:27 left to help the Montreal Canadiens
beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 on Saturday night for their third
straight road victory of the season and first 3-0-0 start in 27
years.

"I was 1-for-4 on scoring chances," Ribeiro said. "It's about
time I finally scored. ... We showed some character tonight, we
lost the lead twice in the game and came back. And (captain) Saku
(Koivu) really showed why he's a leader."

Ribeiro, standing alone beside the net, tapped in a cross-ice
pass from defenseman Andrei Markov for the winner.

"It was an exciting game," Montreal coach Claude Julien said.
"We had a lot of mental errors, we looked tired at times. But we
found a way to come back and score some big goals. That showed
character and determination."

Koivu set up the tying goal with 6:56 remaining, skating around
the Leafs' zone at will before taking a shot that was stopped by Ed
Belfour, only for Steve Begin to pop in the rebound.

"It's something to build on," Koivu said. "We have a young
team and a lot of rookies. For us to win games late is really
something for our confidence. We're not quitting. We're not playing
our best but we're finding a way."

Sheldon Souray, Alexander Perezhogin and Niklas Sundstrom also
scored for the Canadiens in only their third victory at Air Canada
Centre. Koivu and Alexei Kovalev added two assists apiece for
Montreal, which last opened with three wins in 1978-79.

Toronto defensemen Aki Berg and Wade Belak were on the ice for
the tying and winning goals.

"Our defensive zone coverage cost us the other night (against
Ottawa) and it cost us tonight," Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said.
"It's an area that clearly we're not handling very well right now.
We were losing battles for loose pucks, we weren't strong in our
end."

The Canadiens gave up a 3-2 lead in the third period on goals by
Matt Stajan and Nik Antropov and were staring at their first defeat
of the season before Begin and Ribeiro scored 2:29 apart to take
two points from the Maple Leafs.

Alexander Steen scored his first NHL goal for Toronto, and Tie
Domi also scored for the Maple Leafs, playing without injured
captain Mats Sundin (fractured orbital bone).
^Notes:@ Koivu played in his 500th career game. ... The Canadiens
outshot Toronto 25-20. ... Montreal was 2-for-4 on the power play,
while Toronto was 1-for-6.