LOS ANGELES (AP) — Carey Price made 26 saves, Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn scored, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the short-handed Los Angeles Kings 2-1 on Saturday, ending a four-game losing streak.
Dustin Penner scored for the Kings, and Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves in his fifth start of the season.
Penner missed the previous nine games because of a broken finger and was inserted back in the lineup after Mike Richards was placed in injured reserve with a head injury that occurred in Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Florida. Defenseman Davis Drewiske played his second game of the season in place of Willie Mitchell, who sustained a lower body injury on his first shift on Thursday.
Los Angeles’ Jarret Stoll received a delayed penalty for goalie interference at 4:51 of the third period, nullifying a goal by teammate Jack Johnson that would have tied it.
The Kings have lost seven straight times to the Canadiens since a 2-1 home victory on March 8, 2003. The only current Montreal player who was on the Habs’ roster that night was Andre Markov, who hasn’t played since Nov. 13, 2010 because of torn ligaments in his right knee and could return to the lineup sometime next week.
Montreal led 1-0 after one period despite being outshot 14-5. The Canadiens killed off three power plays, including a 5-on-3 advantage Los Angeles had for 39 seconds, then cashed in the first time they went on the power play.
Bernier stopped Yannick Weber’s wrist shot from the left point, but Kostitsyn got the rebound with his back to the net and set up Plekanec in the left circle for a 45-foot wrist shot while Kings captain Dustin Brown was off for tripping. The goal ended an 0-for-24 drought by Montreal on the power play, and a string of 24 successful penalty kills by Los Angeles.
The Habs increased the margin to 2-0 on a critical turnover by the Kings that resulted in Kostitsyn’s goal at 10:48 of the second. Defenseman Matt Green fell down trying to keep the puck in the Montreal zone at the right point, and Louis Leblanc took off with it. He passed to Kostitsyn, who completed a picture-perfect give-and-go with Lars Eller by beating Bernier with a 35-foot slap shot to the glove side.
Penner got the Kings on the board less than 3 minutes later, parking himself in the low slot and redirecting Drew Doughty’s long slap shot between Price’s pads for his first goal of the season with 11 seconds left on Erik Cole’s interference penalty.
Price got a break when Johnson hit the post at 4:16 of the first during a power play, and teammate Simon Gagne hit the post less than 3 minutes into the third from short range.
Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty finished serving the three-game suspension he received for hitting Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang in the head with his shoulder during Montreal’s 4-3 overtime loss last Saturday, leaving Letang with a broken nose.
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