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Patrick Kane lifts sizzling Chicago Blackhawks over Montreal Canadiens

By Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane. UPI/Brian Kersey | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/28f8557aac0f38c35c1169f68898a689/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

CHICAGO -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya could only tip his cap -- make that his mask -- after a dazzling maneuver and off-balance goal by Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane.

"There's not many guys that can make that play," Montoya said. "He's one of two, and I think (retired Detroit Red Wings center Pavel) Datsyuk is already gone. Heck of a goal."

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It proved to be the difference.

Kane scored as he was falling down, and the Blackhawks made the lead stand up in a 3-2 win over the Canadiens on Sunday night. Right winger Marian Hossa and defenseman Gustav Forsling also notched goals for the Blackhawks.

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Chicago (11-3-2) earned at least one point for the 11th consecutive game, which is the best streak in the NHL this season. The Blackhawks improved to 9-0-2 in their past 11 contests.

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Kane shrugged off his go-ahead goal much like the team has downplayed its recent success. The reigning Hart Trophy winner as the league's most valuable player scored with 3:37 left in the second period after he split a pair of defenders and lifted a shot into the net as he tumbled to the ice.

The goal marked Kane's sixth of the season and his third in the past five games.

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"(Center Jonathan Toews) got the puck back and just kind of hit me in the slot there," Kane said. "I tried to make a play and go around the defensemen. Kind of got tripped up, and at that point, you're just kind of throwing it at the net and hoping something happens.

"Got lucky there. It was nice to see it go in."

Defensemen Shea Weber and Andrei Markov each scored for the Canadiens. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Montreal (13-2-1).

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The Canadiens led 2-1 early in the second period before stalling on offense.

"I think once we went up, we sat back on our heels a little bit," said left winger Max Pacioretty, who required stitches to mend a cut after a puck struck him in the face late in the first period. "It made it hard for us to create any offense in the second. We came back and made a push in the third, but it wasn't enough."

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Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots and made several stops in the final minute as the Canadiens played with an empty net.

Montreal goaltender Al Montoya fell to 3-2-1 despite making 32 saves.

"He played great for us," said Canadiens right winger Andrew Shaw. "We gave them way too many opportunities, prime-time scoring chances in the slot, and he stood on his head and he gave us a chance to win. We just weren't there for him."

Chicago opened the scoring with 7:54 to go in the first period. Forsling steadied the puck near the front of the blue line and ripped a rising slap shot past Montoya's glove side. The sequence marked the first career goal for Forsling, a 20-year-old rookie from Sweden.

Montreal evened the score at 1 on a fluke power-play goal in the first minute of the second period. Weber pinched in from the blue line and threw a sharp-angle shot toward the crease. Blackhawks defenseman Michal Kempny reached out with his stick to try to block the shot, but he inadvertently redirected the puck over Crawford's left shoulder. Weber was credited with his seventh goal.

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Less than two minutes later, Montreal scored again to seize a 2-1 lead. Markov unloaded a rising wrist shot from the high slot for his second goal in the past five games.

Chicago pulled even at 2 on a power-play goal by Hossa with 8:31 remaining in the second period. Hossa scored on a rebound for his team-leading ninth goal.

The Blackhawks improved to 8-1-2 on home ice.

"We did some good things," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think we're progressing the way we want. We had quality chances tonight and timely saves at the right time by (Crawford).

"It was a big two points."

NOTES: Blackhawks C Artem Anisimov returned after missing one game because of an upper-body injury. The 28-year-old anchored a line between LW Artemi Panarin and RW Marian Hossa. ... Canadiens RW Andrew Shaw faced his former team for the first time since he was dealt to Montreal in June. Shaw, 25, won two Stanley Cup championship rings in five seasons with the Blackhawks. ... Blackhawks LW Tyler Motte missed his third consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. ... Canadiens C Brian Flynn did not play for the second straight game because of an upper-body injury. ... Blackhawks RW Jordin Tootoo and D Michal Rozsival were healthy scratches. ... Canadiens D Greg Pateryn was a healthy scratch for the third game in a row.

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