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Habs notch win as Dallas sees Stars

THE Montreal Canadiens took advantage of a solid night from netminder Carey Price to beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 on the road on Sunday and move into fifth place in the tight Eastern Conference race.

Loui Eriksson put Dallas ahead on a two-man advantage with the game less than five minutes old before Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Kovalev gave the Habs a 2-1 lead.

Christopher Higgins wrapped up the win with a third-period tally.

"We kept our composure for the last 40 minutes and came up with a big, huge win," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said.

The Stars, battling for a Western Conference playoff spot, failed on eight other powerplay chances, including two other 5-on-3 opportunities. They have now lost six in a row at home.

Montreal, which had not won in Dallas since 1998 in its infrequent series, committed nine penalties in the first period, but managed to concede just the one goal.

"We finally decided not to back down," Carbonneau said. "We took bad penalties but at least we killed them."

Kostitsyn, taking advantage of a lucky bounce, leveled the score five minutes into the second period and Kovalev made it a 2-1 game almost 10 minutes later.

Higgins scored 5:27 into the third after Dallas netminder Marty Turco went behind the net but failed to control the puck. Higgins got the puck along the boards and drilled his shot into an empty net.

Price kept Dallas at bay after Eriksson's score, saving eight shots in the second and 14 in the third to end the game with 30 stops. It was Price's third consecutive with Jaroslav Halak battling a virus. Price is 1-2 in the three games after Halak won four in a row.

"I think he is starting to realize where he is at and what he needs to do to be successful," Carbonneau said of Price.

Price said his teammates had a lot to do with his success against the Stars.

"The guys played really well in the first period to kill all those penalties," he told reporters.

Turco had 16 saves for Dallas, which along with Edmonton and Nashville, have 70 points in the race for the West's final two playoff spots.

"Tonight was a mental thing," Stars center Mike Modano said. "When your body isn't feeling good and you're not feeling light, things all add up to missed passes."

In other National Hockey League action, it was: Rangers 4, Bruins 3; Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 1; Thrashers 5, Flames 2; Wild 3, Ducks 2; and Islanders 3, Coyotes 2.


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