MONTREAL (AP) - The Montreal Canadiens are getting solid goaltending even though Jose Theodore is in the worst slump of his career.
Cristobal Huet got his first Montreal shutout and Andrei Markov scored in his return to the lineup, leading the Canadiens to a 2-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Huet, acquired from Los Angeles following the 2003-04 season, made 35 saves for his fifth career shutout, his first since Feb. 23, 2004 against Nashville with the Kings. The 30-year-old Frenchman made his second consecutive start against the Bruins - who beat Montreal 3-1 at home Thursday - after relieving struggling starter Jose Theodore in three of the Canadiens' previous four games.
``I can't tell you how much that meant to us,'' said Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray, who scored into an empty net with 21.2 seconds remaining.
Markov, who missed eight games with a shoulder injury, scored a power-play goal 10:22 into the third period, putting a rebound of Alex Kovalev's shot off the left post into an open left side.
``He happened to score the goal in the third period, which is terrific, but I think he brought another presence to our defense, an elevation in our ability to find the open man,'' said Canadiens GM and coach Bob Gainey, whose record improved to 5-6 since he moved behind the bench after firing Claude Julien.
Huet made several big saves throughout and caught a break late in the game when Sergei Samsonov hit the left post during Boston's seventh power play opportunity of the game with less than 1:00 remaining.
``Obviously when you get a shutout you did something good and the desperation save at the end was a little bit lucky but it was very important too,'' Huet said.
Souray scored a short-handed goal moments later on a clearing slap shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle in Montreal's zone.
``My golf swing curves like that also,'' Souray said.
Boston goalie Tim Thomas made 27 saves while losing in regulation for just the second time in 11 straight starts (7-2-2). Thomas has appeared in 13 games in a row with Boston since being recalled from Providence of the AHL on Jan. 10.
``I thought the goaltending on both sides was terrific,'' Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. ``Obviously their guy was really good for them. I thought he had some really timely saves throughout the course of the game and I thought Timmy made some big stops for us.''
Montreal, which had lost two in a row, won for just the third time in its last nine games (3-6-0). Boston had won two in a row and five of six.
It was the lowest scoring game of the season at the Bell Centre. The previous low was four goals in Montreal's 3-2 shootout win over Atlanta on Nov. 22.
Boston went 0-for-6 on the power play through the first two periods. The Canadiens failed to convert their two opportunities with the man advantage over the same stretch.
``Our power play just wasn't clicking,'' Bruins forward Brad Boyes said.
Montreal's power play finally broke the scoreless tie during its first opportunity of the third period. Kovalev put a shot past Thomas from the right side which squarely struck the left post. Thomas had little time to react as Markov jumped on the rebound and put a quick shot into the net for his eighth of the season as the sellout matinee crowd of 21,273 erupted into a huge cheer, many of them children who rarely have the opportunity to see a game.
``The team is going through a tough time and we wanted that win,'' Huet said. ``We did that as a team and it's pretty good to have the fans back on our side. It was a good game for us.''
Notes: Bruins D Brian Leetch missed his second straight game since aggravating a groin strain in his second game back after missing seven games. ... D Mark Streit and RWs Niklas Sundstrom and Aaron Downey did not dress for Montreal. ... The Canadiens have sold out each of their 24 home games.