MONTREAL - Red-hot Andrei Kostitsyn scored in a fourth straight game and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a listless NHL match-up on Thursday night.
Guillaume Latendresse and Andrei Markov, with the game-winner early in the third period, also scored for Montreal (26-11-6), which was coming off a 3-1 loss in Boston but is now 10-2-1 in its last 13 games.
Jean-Pierre Dumont, with his first goal in 17 games since Dec. 8, and Vernon Fiddler scored for the Predators (20-21-3), who ended a three-game road trip that included a loss in Chicago and a 2-0 win in Toronto on Saturday night.
Nashville was missing top defenceman Shea Weber, who took a shot on the foot against the Maple Leafs, and centre Jason Arnott, who missed a third game with an upper body injury, while Montreal was also without a handful of regulars.
An uneventful first period ended with a goal as Latendresse took a pass from Josh Gorges on a rush and beat Pekka Rinne with a low, screened shot to the near post at 19:26. It was the first goal allowed to a Northeast Division club in three games this season by Rinne, who had blanked Buffalo and Toronto.
Dumont got credit for the tying goal 6:35 into the second frame as he deflected Kevin Klein's point shot past Jaroslav Halak, who made an eighth straight start while No. 1 goalie Carey Price recovers from an ankle injury.
Montreal had only two shots in the second period and didn't get its first until the 8:46 mark, but Kostitsyn made it count as he took a diagonal pass from Markov to Rinne's right and scored to the far post. Kostitsyn has six goals and four assists in his last six games.
Markov's weak shot from the left point hit a body and went in off Radek Bonk's skate 1:05 into the third, but Fiddler got it back at 6:23 when he knocked down Ville Koistinen's point shot and backhanded it over Halak.
Defenceman Alexander Sulzer, the first German-born player to skate for Nashville, made his NHL debut.
Notes - Nashville is 7-3-1 against the Eastern Conference this season. The Preds expect to have Weber and Arnott back Saturday at home against Atlanta. . . The Canadiens play Saturday night in Ottawa to start a run of five straight road games broken up by the all-star game in Montreal on Jan. 25. . The Canadiens recalled winger Gregory Stewart from AHL Hamilton in case Kovalev was unable to play because of a flu that caused him to miss practice on Wednesday, but the Russian veteran was in the lineup, although he looked to have little energy.