Andrei Kostitsyn hurt in Habs’ win over Coyotes


The Montreal Canadiens ran their record to 4-0-1 with a 4-1 win Saturday night over the Phoenix Coyotes, but it might have come at a high price.


MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens ran their record to 4-0-1 with a 4-1 win Saturday night over the Phoenix Coyotes, but it might have come at a high price.

Andrei Kostitsyn, the Canadiens’ talented young forward, was shoved into the boards by Phoenix defenceman Kurt Sauer early in the second period. While there was no immediate word on Kostitsyn’s condition, he had to be assisted from the ice and he appeared to have suffered a concussion and possibly cracked ribs.

“He was a little dizzy, but he was better when I saw him a few minutes ago,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said after the game. “I’m sure that he’s going to have to pass some tests, but we’ll see over the next few days.”

If Kostitsyn can’t make it back to the lineup for Monday’s game against the Florida Panthers, Christopher Higgins, who has been sidelined by a groin injury, could step in. He has been practising with the team and was expected to play Saturday night, but he and defenceman Francis Bouillon failed to receive clearance from the team’s medical staff.

The line of Guillaume Latendresse, Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay provided the bulk of the offence in the one-sided win. Tanguay scored twice, Koivu had a goal and two assists and Latendresse had an assist. Koivu’s assists gave him 422 for his career and he passed the late Maurice (Rocket) Richard on the Canadiens’ all-time list. The line has collected 20 points in five games.

“I think the chemistry is getting better,” said Tanguay. “I’m starting to get a feel for what Saku is going to do. On my second goal, I saw there were guys going in front of the net and I just made some room for myself and I took my time so I got a good shot.”

Robert Lang scored on a power play for the Canadiens’ fourth goal, while defenceman Andrei Markov collected two assists.

The tenor of the game changed dramatically after Sauer’s hit on Kostitsyn. There was only one penalty in the first period, but the teams racked up 34 minutes in the second period. The total included two fights. Tom Kostopoulos tried to avenge the hit on Kostitsyn, but didn’t make much of an impression on Sauer. Heavyweight Georges Laraque took on Todd Fedoruk and won by an hair.

An emotional Sergei Kostitsyn received a roughing penalty on the first shift after his brother limped off, but Koivu had a talk with him on the bench and settled him down.

“I just told him it was a long season and he had to refocus,” said Koivu. “He plays with a lot of fire and I was just giving him some advice from a veteran player.”

Canadiens goalie Carey Price played a solid game. He made 28 stops, but lost his first shutout of the season when his cousin, Shane Doan, scored the Coyotes’ lone goal at 10:00 of the third period. The puck bounced off the skate of a Canadiens defenceman in front of the net and Doan pushed it across the goal-line.

“The same thing happened last year when he scored late in the game,” said Price. “I was trying to keep my balance and reach back for the puck, but I was on the wrong side.”

Price was on the right side when he set the tone defensively in the first period while the Coyotes were on the power play while trailing 1-0. Price slid across the crease to his left and made a spectacular glove save on Doan.

Montreal Gazette


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