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Plekanec's hat trick lifts Canadiens to 4-3 exhibition win over Boston @NHLdotcom

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) -Thomas Plekanec scored three goals in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-3 preseason victory over the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Plekanec opened the scoring early when he deflected Brian Smolinski's shot, that came off the right wing boards, past goalie Manny Fernandez. He made it 2-0 six minutes into the game with a power-play goal. Plekanec cut in on the left wing side and slid in a backhander.

The Canadiens took a three-goal lead in the second period when Plekanec wristed a rebound of Michael Ryder's shot high over Fernandez's shoulder during another power play.

Chuck Kobasew cut Boston's deficit to 3-1, finishing off a slick three-way passing play with linemates David Krejci and P.J. Axelsson by beating goalie Jarolsav Halak.

But Montreal restored its three-goal lead minutes later when Chris Higgins put a weak wrist shot from the top of the slot past Fernandez. Higgins played for the first time in the preseason after sitting out four games.

He had a chance for a second goal when he was awarded a penalty shot near the end of the second period, but was stopped by Fernandez on a deke attempt.

The Bruins, who were outshot 33-17 through two periods, came out with a flurry in the third. They sliced the Canadiens' lead in half on a goal by Glen Murray that drew a large cheer from the crowd of 9,967 for the Nova Scotia native.

Phil Kessel scored against Halak with just 9 seconds left to make it 4-3.

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