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Kings Get the Drop on Canadiens, 4-1

Hockey: Dafoe impressive and three third-period goals help extend unbeaten streak to six games.


The last time the Montreal Canadiens faced the Kings, they found a different team than the one they played Thursday night at the Forum.

Behind the play of goalie Byron Dafoe and three third-period goals, the surging Kings defeated Montreal, 4-1, before an announced crowd of 10,273 to stretch their unbeaten streak to six games.

Rob Blake, Vitali Yachmenev, Yanic Perreault and Eddie Olczyk scored goals and Dafoe stopped 27 shots as the Kings improved to 3-0-3 since losing to Edmonton, 8-2, at the Forum on Oct. 24.

"When we played them in Montreal, they really took it to us," Blake said. "We wanted to shut them down. We opened up in the second [period] and then took control in the third."

Yachmenev scored the winning goal 34 seconds into the third period to break a 1-1 tie when he took a rebound from in front of the net and sent a backhand shot past Montreal goalie Jose Theodore.

The Kings (7-6-3) broke the game open at 7:54 into the period when Kevin Stevens dropped a pass to Perreault inside the blue line and he scored with a slap shot to Theodore's glove side from high in the slot to give them a 3-1 lead. It was Perreault's seventh goal, a team high.

Olczyk finished the scoring with an unassisted goal, his fifth, with 5:13 to play.

In the first game between the teams at Montreal on Oct. 9, the Canadiens took advantage of 42 shots on goal to win, 6-3.

"They're the type of team that is much better with the puck," King Coach Larry Robinson said. "We tried to stand them up and not allow them into our zone."

Olczyk had two quick scoring chances within the first minute but was unable to score against Theodore, a 20-year-old rookie who made his fourth NHL career start in place of Jocelyn Thibault, who is sidelined because of a finger injury.

The Kings had the game's first power play when Montreal's Vincent Damphousse was called for holding at 9:01 in the first period, but the Kings were unable to score. The Kings had eight shots on goal before the Canadiens got their first at the 10-minute mark when left wing Shayne Corson made a short-handed attempt from inside the blue line.

Dafoe, making his first start since last week's 2-2 tie at Ottawa, was tested on two shots 15 minutes into the period. Dafoe first trapped Montreal right wing Turner Stevenson's shot from the middle of the left circle and then stopped a shot by Corson also from the left circle.

After outshooting Montreal, 10-5, in the first period without scoring, the Kings had better results early in the second when Blake scored 31 seconds into the period. The play was started by right wing Kai Nurminen, who dug out the puck from the right corner and found Blake near the blue line. Blake waited briefly and moved to his left before scoring his second goal of the season past Theodore's stick side.

The Canadiens scored 7:53 into the period when Chris Murray bounced a pass in front of the net to center Darcy Tucker, who backhanded a shot past Dafoe to tie the game, 1-1. The Canadiens, who defeated the Mighty Ducks at Anaheim on Wednesday, are 1-6-1 on the road and 5-7-3 overall.

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