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Guillaume delivers the goods

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
19-year-old rookie pots pair to keep Habs playoff hopes alive

Rookie Guillaume Latendresse kept on rolling with two more goals against the Islanders.

MONTREAL - What a difference 12 months make. One year ago, Guillaume Latendresse was still in junior, wondering what could have been had he cracked the Canadiens lineup the first time around. Now he's making up for lost time by helping lead the Habs' playoff charge.

On a night when the kids ran the show, Latendresse helped light a fire under the Canadiens with a pair of goals in a crucial 5-3 come-from-behind victory over the Islanders.

"The team's success always comes first, the personal stuff isn't what most important at the end of the day," said Latendresse. "We weren't about to let this one go. We showed a lot of character here tonight, and a lot of intensity."

Thanks to his 14th and 15th goals of the season, 19-year-old Latendresse became the first player under the age of 20 to notch 15 goals since Stephane Richer turned the trick in 1985-86.

"My first goal thanks to [Michael Ryder], he did all the work on that one. I just had to redirect it into the open net," shrugged Latendresse, who now has four goals in his last three games.

"On the second one, I was sure it went in," said Latendresse, who along with the capacity crowd at the Bell Centre crowd had to painfully sit through a long video replay delay before being finally being credited with the goal. "Luckily I ended up being right because I would've looked pretty lame having raised my arms as if I scored."

Head coach Guy Carbonneau wasn't short on praise of his young prodigy.

"We've been saying all along that what we need most right now is for players to stand up and make a difference," said Carbonneau. "It happened in St. Louis and again tonight against the Islanders. Guillaume and [Andrei Kostitsyn] came up big for us tonight.

"It all comes back to confidence," added Carbonneau. "Guillaume has shown us what he can do this year. He had a tough start to the season, but he's come on strong and played a great game tonight. It's the type of effort we're going to need the rest of the way."

Manny Almela is a writer for

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