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OTT@MTL: Super Sunday

Plekanec earns 600th & 601st career points, Lehkonen nets two in Habs' second win of the weekend

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - The Canadiens needed to inject a little power into their game after an uneventful and scoreless first period, and they knew exactly where to look.

The way things have gone this weekend, that power source they looked to is now known as Jeff Petry's Power Play Prowess. The Michigan-born defenseman, who had notched a pair of goals with the man advantage the day before against Anaheim, tied things up for the Canadiens with a rifle of a shot from the point to open the scoring for the hosts in the second period.

Video: OTT@MTL: Petry rips one-timer past Condon for PPG

"The first goal gave us a lot of momentum. That power play was big for us, for sure," said Artturi Lehkonen of what would be the Habs' fourth of five goals they'd score in 10 power play opportunities this weekend. "We started going from there."

It's fair to say the 22-year-old Finn can be considered an authority on the matter. After all, the momentum the Canadiens got from the Petry marker paved the way for Lehkonen to shatter his scoring drought and give the Habs the lead, a feat he accomplished just 1:38 afterwards - also on the power play.

Then, remembering that he had added a second tally the last time he scored against Ottawa - back on October 30 - Lehkonen decided to repeat the feat in this game, too, burying the puck into the open net off a picture-perfect backhand pass from Tomas Plekanec later that same period.

Video: OTT@MTL: Lehkonen scores, Plekanec gets 600th point

If you thought No. 62 was going to dish on a magic formula for scoring against Ottawa, though, you're out of luck, but it might have something to do with having some helpful linemates on your side.

"I was wondering that, too. I don't know. First of all, I got a couple of great passes from the guys, setting me up for the goals," he explained. "Especially Pleky's pass for me, I pretty much had an open net there, I just had to put it in."

That second Lehkonen goal may have been scored on a dazzling play, but there was a lot more to it than a mere doubling of the Habs' lead over the visitors. That's because, in earning a helper with the aforementioned nifty cross-crease pass, Plekanec registered the 600th point of his NHL career in the process.

He became the seventh player from the 2001 Draft, the 23rd Czech player, and 13th Canadiens player to reach the plateau. It was also Plekanec's 370th career assist, moving him into sole possession of 14th place all-time on the Canadiens in that category.

It's not every day you get to collect a point with so much meaning.

"It's hard to describe. Whoever would've told me that before, I wouldn't believe it, I'd think they were crazy. It's definitely nice, I'm really happy about it," glowed Plekanec, whose 974 career games rank eighth all-time on the Canadiens. "But I may be getting the credit now, but a lot of credit goes to the teammates and linemates I've had over the years. [Because of them], I was able to put up some numbers even though I was playing a two-way game."

Video: Tomas Plekanec on 600 career points

Not wanting to leave it there, Plekanec intercepted a Senators pass right in front of Mike Condon and wristed it past the Ottawa netminder to make it 4-1. The goal was the perfect cherry on top for the 600-point plateau celebration.

"That's a huge milestone for him. I'm sure he won't do it yet, but at the end of his career, when he sits back, looking back, [he'll realize] it's a really big accomplishment," said Brendan Gallagher of the 35-year-old Czech, whose first point came back on October 6, 2005 against the Rangers. "He's been here for so long, he's always on the ice against the best guys, he has a responsibility defensively and he's chipped in 601 times now. It's pretty impressive. I've enjoyed playing with him and learning from him, and hopefully we'll do it a lot more."

Habs bench boss Claude Julien, who has coached Plekanec in both the early and later years of both mens' careers, is probably better suited than most to appreciate what the centerman brings to the table on all sides of the ice.

"He's good in the faceoff circle, he does a great job killing penalties. He scores a goal, stays on the puck there, and he makes the most of a great pass to Lehky on his second goal. I thought he played a really good game. He's a veteran we've leaned on a lot this year, especially having some issues at center. I'm really happy for him," concluded the coach. "Six hundred points is a pretty good feat for him."

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