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Kostitsyn, Lapierre and Latendresse lead Habs over Leafs in chippy 6-2 rout @NHLdotcom

MONTREAL - Sergei Kostitsyn, Maxim Lapierre and Guillaume Latendresse scored in the first period and the Montreal Canadiens went on to a 6-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in a chippy game Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

Alex Kovalev, Andrei Kostitsyn and Max Pacioretty also scored for Montreal (24-10-6), which has won three games in a row and was coming off a 6-3 victory 24 hours earlier in New York. Montreal is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games.

Tomas Kaberle, with his third of the season and first since Nov. 13, and Matt Stajan scored for Toronto (16-19-6), which has lost six of its last eight.

The Canadiens scored five times on 21 shots on Vesa Toskala, who was replaced by Curtis Joseph to start the third period.

The game was marked by numerous skirmishes and shoving matches, which referees Tim Peel and Chris Ciamaga tried to control by issuing eight 10-minute misconducts, four to each side.

After Kovalev scored 6:20 into the second frame for a 4-1 lead, two pairs of misconducts were called, and then the fights started, with Jamal Mayers laying a beating on Montreal's Tom Kostopoulos and Francis Bouillon engaging a free-swinging bout from both players in a tussle with newly acquired Leaf Brad May.

In a 1:25 stretch midway through the second, a total of 62 penalty minutes were called.

And late in game, there was shouting between the benches as Andre Deveaux and Lapierre were penaltized and then former Canadien Mikhail Grabovski, who was booed each time he touched the puck, and Sergei Kostitsyn tried to get at each other but were restrained by the officials.

Sergei Kostitsyn got Montreal going with a power-play goal 2:35 into the game and Lapierre stepped out of the penalty box, skated in alone and beat Toskala at 4:59.

Dominic Moore won a faceoff back to Kaberle for a low point blast that beat Jaroslav Halak on a power play at 7:55, but with 53 seconds left in the period, Latendresse was left uncovered in front to convert a pass from Kostopoulos. Patrice Brisebois had three assists in the period.

Kovalev beat Toskala over the right shoulder at 6:20 and Andrei Kostitsyn tipped in a Robert Lang pass on a power play at 18:53, while the rookie Pacioretty was alone in front to beat Joseph 12:08 into the third on a feed from Kovalev for his second goal in his first four NHL games.

With 1:30 left, Stajan banged in a shot from the slot.

Halak is 4-1 in five straight starts since No. 1 goalie Carey Price went down with alower body injury.

May skated on a line with John Mitchell and Jamal Mayers.

Stajan returned for Toronto after five games out with an eye injury.

Notes: Old-timers from both organizations were honoured at centre ice before the game, with Wendel Clark, Borje Salming, Johnny Bower, Darryl Sittler and Felix Potin from the Leafs and Steve Shutt, Guy Lapointe, Peter Mahovlich, Phil Goyette and Jean Beliveau, who got a standing ovation, for Montreal. Also there wearing a Canadiens jersey was Vincent Damphousse, who played for both teams. . . A scoreboard tribute was paid to three players from Canada's gold medal team from the world junior championship - Angelo Esposito, Chris Di Domenico and Patrice Cormier - and coaches Guy Boucher and Fred Chabot.. . Defenceman Yannick Weber played his first NHL game for Montreal at forward, while Steve Begin sat out. . .Jeremy Williams, Ryan Hollweg and Jamie Sifers didn't dress for Toronto.

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