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Canadiens top Red Wings for sixth straight win

by Paul Harris

DETROIT -- The Montreal Canadiens had plenty of excuses not to play well on Sunday, but they didn't use any of them.

P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher each had a goal and an assist to lead Montreal to a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

The Canadiens got their sixth consecutive win in their fourth game in six days and in the second of back-to-back games. Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 on Saturday in Montreal.

"Before the game, we spoke about all the excuses that, maybe, we could use to not come out strong," Subban said. "We wanted to come out without any excuses tonight. We wanted to put forth our best effort."

Brandon Prust and Tomas Plekanec also scored for the Canadiens (14-4-1), who are atop the NHL standings with 29 points. Backup goalie Dustin Tokarski made 28 saves.

"We were playing our fourth game in six days, back-to-back and playing a Detroit Red Wings team that's a good team that plays with good structure," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We could have had a lot of excuses but the guys didn't take any excuses."

Riley Sheahan scored and Jimmy Howard stopped 15 shots for Detroit (8-4-5).

"I thought we didn't have much jump and much energy, for whatever reason," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We scheduled a day off yesterday because we had to (due to the collective bargaining agreement), we travel so much this month couldn't get enough [off] days. We knew going in we didn't want to do that but that's the way it goes. But we should have competed and skated better than we did tonight."

The Canadiens scored twice in the second period to take a 2-0 lead. Prust opened the scoring at 3:20 when his shot from the right circle went in off of Howard's glove. It was Prust's first goal of the season. It came five seconds after Montreal killed off a hooking penalty to Sergei Gonchar.

Prust picked up the puck along the right wing boards, after Red Wings defenseman Dan DeKeyser couldn't touch the puck as he went off on a line change, and a 3-on-1 developed. Prust kept the puck and took the shot.

"Actually, I was thinking pass all the way because I knew they had a guy coming out of the box. … But the puck was rolling, so I just shot it," Prust said.

Subban made it 2-0 with his fifth goal, and second in two games, at 8:36 of the second. His one-time slap shot from inside the blue line in the middle of the ice was headed wide but deflected off the upper inside of Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey's left leg and past Howard.

"The bounces we're getting are the result of our hard work and going to the net hard," Subban said.

Plekanec got his seventh goal, 1:47 into the third period when he put in a loose puck that resulted from the rebound of Brendan Gallagher's shot. It came 13 seconds after Tokarski got his glove on Gustav Nyquist's shot from the bottom of the right circle on a 3-on-1.

"Dustin Tokarski made some big saves at key times," Therrien said.

Sheahan's power-play goal put the Red Wings on the board 4:06 into the third period. He backhanded in a rebound for his second goal.

"It's tough to pinpoint. We were kind of inconsistent," Sheahan said. "Some shifts we showed a glimpse of great work and others were kind of we weren't really thinking much."

Gallagher got his fifth goal, 8:41 into the third, when be banked the puck in off of Howard from behind the net while Gallagher was on one knee.

"His work ethic is always 100 percent. Tonight he got rewarded," Therrien said of Gallagher.

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