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Ducks beat Canadiens 4-1 to snap 7-game skid

Anaheim Ducks left wing Niklas Hagman (12) controls the puck ahead of Montreal Canadiens defenseman Yannick Weber (68) in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. Anaheim Ducks left wing Niklas Hagman (12) controls the puck ahead of Montreal Canadiens defenseman Yannick Weber (68) in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Christine Cotter)
By Greg Beacham
AP Sports Writer / December 1, 2011
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ANAHEIM, Calif.—Corey Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and two assists, Jonas Hiller made 19 saves, and the Anaheim Ducks snapped a seven-game skid with a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Rookie Devante Smith-Pelly scored a power-play goal and Getzlaf snapped a personal 14-game goal drought for the Ducks, who killed seven penalties in just their third victory in 19 games since mid-October. Niklas Hagman added an empty-net goal for Anaheim, which hadn't won since Nov. 11.

Andrei Kostitsyn scored a first-period goal and Peter Budaj stopped 23 shots for the Canadiens, who opened a three-game California road trip with their third straight loss. Montreal played without goals leader Max Pacioretty, who served the first game of his three-game suspension for a hit to the head of Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang.

Bobby Ryan, the subject of numerous trade rumors in recent days, received an ovation when he was introduced in the Ducks' starting lineup. The American forward assisted on Smith-Pelly's goal, but he has just two goals in 11 games while getting dropped from his position alongside Perry and Getzlaf on the Ducks' top line.

The Ducks avoided an eight-game slump, which would have matched the longest in franchise history, with offensive leadership from Perry and Getzlaf, their two biggest stars and longtime linemates. Anaheim had lost eight of nine at Honda Center, but played solid defense in front of Hiller for just its second home win since Oct. 16.

The Canadiens went ahead in the opening minutes when Tomas Plekanec fed Kostitsyn for his first goal since returning from a 10-game injury absence. Anaheim skated in its now-usual fog during the first period until it was forced to kill three consecutive penalties, energizing the bench and the building by shutting down the NHL's 29th-ranked road power play.

Getzlaf evened it when Perry found him with a cross-ice pass with 19 seconds left in the first period. The Anaheim captain hadn't scored since Oct. 27, although he had a six-game assist streak entering this game.

Anaheim failed to score during a 90-second, two-man advantage early in the second period, but Smith-Pelly put the Ducks ahead moments later when he alertly swatted a rebound onto the ice and smacked it past Budaj before the Montreal goalie could react. The 19-year-old scored just the second goal in 22 games in his rookie season, snapping an eight-game drought.

Perry added another power-play goal early in the third, expertly redirecting Francois Beauchemin's shot into the top corner of the net for the reigning NHL MVP's 11th goal.

Hagman added his first goal since joining the Ducks two weeks ago, scoring with 1:29 to play.

NOTES: Anaheim is 5-0-1 in its last six games against Montreal. This game was the clubs' only meeting this season. ... Longtime former Montreal captain Saku Koivu played his third game against the Canadiens since moving to Anaheim. Koivu was the Habs' captain for 10 of his 13 seasons in Montreal, matching Jean Beliveau for the longest captaincy in franchise history. ... Montreal D Andrei Markov traveled to California, but didn't make his return from a yearlong absence with torn ligaments in his right knee. Markov, who hasn't played since Nov. 13, 2010, could return later on the trip in San Jose or Los Angeles.

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