MONTREAL (AP) -- From his spot on the Minnesota Wild's bench,
Pascal Dupuis thought Radek Bonk had no chance of scoring
Montreal's go-ahead goal. Neither did any of Dupuis' teammates on
Bonk scored 12:23 into the third period and Cristobal Huet made
36 saves, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 win over the
Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
With all five Minnesota players around him and Wild goalie
Niklas Backstrom facing backward, Bonk backhanded his own rebound
of a loose puck in the crease over the goal line for his fifth goal
of the season.
"I thought (Backstrom) had his hand on the puck, but they
judged it differently," said Dupuis, who scored late in the second
to tie it at 2.
Backstrom thought he had the puck covered, too.
"I got my back in the wrong direction from the beginning, but I
thought the puck was under me," Backstrom said. "I couldn't see
it, but nobody else could see it either. I haven't seen the video
but it was a really bad goal."
Badly outplayed in the second as Minnesota scored twice to tie
it, Montreal outshot the Wild 14-4 in the final period.
"The game was on in the third and I think we were able to play
better than in the second and find a way to get the two points,"
Alex Kovalev and Steve Begin scored in the first period for
Montreal, which has won two in a row and four of five.
"We sucked in the second period," Montreal captain Saku Koivu
said. "I don't know what happened, we were just absolutely
Huet won his fourth straight with another strong outing. The
French goalie turned aside 12 shots in the first period before
making 19 saves in the second.
"You look at last year and what he meant to us down the stretch
drive and into the playoffs, and you look at what Martin Brodeur
means to the Devils," Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray said.
"When goalies like that are playing well, and as good as Cris is
playing, it gives a team so much confidence. You make mistakes and
you know that usually you're going to get bailed out."
The Wild got goals from Stephane Veilleux and Dupuis to tie it
at 2 while outshooting the Canadiens 21-7 in the middle period.
"We knew that team was going to keep on working and we just sat
back a bit and tried to take shortcuts," Souray said. "That team
lives on turnovers and they brought it to us in the second period.
We woke up for the third and were able to fight through it. It was
a tough win, but a win, nonetheless."
The Wild, who held a 38-35 margin in shots, once again gave up
an early lead, falling behind 2-0 two nights after allowing three
first-period goals before trailing 4-0 in a 5-3 loss in Ottawa.
"It's tough to come back every game and win, but we put
ourselves back in the game in the second," Dupuis said.
Backstrom stopped 31 shots for Minnesota. Backstrom is 1-2-1 in
the Wild's last six games, including three starts. He was 2-0 while
making just two relief appearances for No. 1 goalie Manny Fernandez
through Minnesota's first 15 games.
Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster was helped off the ice in the
second period after he was struck on the right side of the head by
Komisarek's clearing shot off a faceoff. He did not return.
Kovalev opened the scoring with his sixth goal on a two-man
advantage. Koivu took Michael Ryder's pass from behind the net and
immediately fed the puck to Kovalev, who settled the puck before
putting a wrist shot over Backstrom.
Begin made it 2-0 with his second of the season.
Huet got help from Komisarek in the second period as the
defenseman stopped Todd White's shot with his stick as the goalie
lunged across the goalmouth to smother the puck.
Veilleux finally got one past Huet to draw Minnesota within 2-1.
Dupuis scored his fourth at 18:27 of the period to tie it.
Montreal was left scrambling around its zone after defenseman
Andrei Markov got caught up ice when he collided with teammate
Sergei Samsonov in the Wild's zone.
Wild LW Benoit Pouliot made his NHL debut. Pouliot,
Minnesota's first-round pick -- fourth overall -- in the 2005 draft,
had 6:24 of ice time in the game and eight shifts. He was on the
ice for Dupuis' goal, finishing plus-one. ... Backstrom is 0-2-1 in
three starts. He has won each of his three relief appearances. ...
Canadiens D Francis Bouillon made his season debut. Montreal coach
Guy Carbonneau dressed seven defenseman as Bouillon returned from
preseason knee surgery.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Bell Centre Location: Montreal, Quebec
Referees: Wes McCauley, Michael McGeough Linesmen: Darren Gibbs, Brian Murphy
Attendance: 21,273 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Alex Kovalev (6)
(Power Play) Assists: Saku Koivu, Michael Ryder
Steve Begin (2)
Assist: Mathieu Dandenault
Stephane Veilleux (3)
Assists: Kim Johnsson, Wyatt Smith
Pascal Dupuis (4)
Assists: Petteri Nummelin, Kim Johnsson
Radek Bonk (5)
Assists: Alex Kovalev, Mike Komisarek