MONTREAL (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens have changed for the better since the
last time Mathieu Garon started in goal
Mike Ribeiro and Jan Bulis each had a goal and an assist, and Saku Koivu
also had two points in Montreal's 5-2 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night.
The Canadiens have won six of eight (6-1-1), including an 8-0 victory over
Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Garon, Jose Theodore's backup, made 16 saves in his ninth start of the
season, his first since a 3-2 loss in Washington on Dec. 23.
"It was a different team," Garon said. "Defensively, I think we're
playing great and we're not giving much, so it's easier for the goalie,
especially with the great offense we had tonight."
Ribeiro scored his 10th of the season to tie it at 1-1 midway through the
first, and assisted on Richard Zednik's go-ahead goal 3:44 into the second.
Ribeiro leads the Canadiens with 35 points in 44 games.
Michael Ryder and Craig Rivet added goals later in the period and Bulis, who
assisted on Ryder's goal, scored in the third.
"It seems that whenever we need the break right now, it's going our way,
and it's fun," said Koivu, who had two assists. "We've gone through some
tough times in the last couple of years here so it's fun to have things going
Pavol Demitra and Eric Nickulas scored for St. Louis, which ended a
four-game winless streak one night earlier with a 7-4 victory over Chicago.
"Our second period wasn't very good, but I wasn't crazy about how we played
in the other two," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said.
Both teams were coming off season highs for goals in a game.
Garon made his ninth start of the season, his first since a 3-2 loss in
Washington on Dec. 23.
Canadiens defenseman Francis Bouillon was given a major penalty for boarding
and a game misconduct 5:17 in after he checked Ryan Johnson into the boards
Demitra opened the scoring just 33 seconds into the ensuing five-minute
power-play when he beat Garon at 5:50 on a setup from Keith Tkachuk and Chris
Pulled early in the second Monday after allowing four goals on 14 shots,
Blues goalie Chris Osgood couldn't hold the lead. Osgood is winless in his last
nine starts (0-5-3).
"Over the course of the season he's been excellent for us, but I think
these last two games he's had a couple of tough nights," Quenneville said.
"We've been relying on him and leaning on him all year and he's been pulling
through for us, but we all go through it and hopefully he can rebound and we
can rebound as a team.
Ribeiro tied it at 11:09 when he moved to his backhand to beat Osgood.
Ribeiro got his second straight point when Zednik scored the first of
Montreal's three second-period goals to make it 2-1. Ribeiro's pass sent Zednik
and Pierre Dagenais in on a 2-on-1, and Zednik banked a shot off Osgood into
the top left corner of the net 3:44 into the period.
Ryder, Jan Bulis and Koivu combined on a pretty passing play to make it 3-1
at 6:46. Koivu passed from the left boards to the slot, where Bulis teed up the
puck for Ryder, who fired a shot past Osgood for his 12th goal of the season.
"Sometimes those things just click, and it happened that we were all in the
perfect spot for that play," Koivu said.
Rivet scored his third of the season on a power play at 9:47 when he took
Jason Ward's behind-the-net pass as he drove to the net from the left faceoff
circle before tucking a shot inside the right post.
Nickulas made it 4-2 with his seventh goal 8:52 into the third, but Bulis
restored Montreal's three-goal lead with his ninth goal at 16:07 on a pass from
Koivu, who drew his second assist of the game.