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Canadiens wins season-high fifth straight

MONTREAL (AP) — Sergei Kostitsyn scored his second goal of the game early in the third period and the Montreal Canadiens went on to their season-high fifth straight win, 3-2 over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Kostitsyn, who has three goals in two games, jumped on an opportunity to put Montreal up 3-1 early in the third when goalie Tuukka Rask misplayed Hal Gill's dump-in off the end boards.

The puck slid under Rask's stick and Kostitsyn — who gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead when he scored late in the first — fired the loose puck into the wide open net for his fifth of the season before the goalie could stop it with a desperate stick lunge.

Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves, and Andrei Markov had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which has won six of seven since the Olympic break.

Halak, who has won all five games during the streak, stopped Marco Sturm with less than 5 minutes remaining in the third to help send the Canadiens' on to their longest winning streak since a five-game run from Oct. 11-20, 2008.

Montreal remained tied for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with Philadelphia. Both teams have 76 points, though the Flyers have played three less games.

Rask stopped 24 shots, and Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic scored for Boston, which fell to 1-2-1 in its last four games, a skid that began with a 2-1 loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Bruins center Marc Savard was lost to injury indefinitely as the result of a controversial hit to the head by Penguins forward Matt Cooke during that game. Prior to that, Boston had lost once in regulation in its previous nine games (6-1-2).

Lucic drew the Bruins within one when he circled back along the right side in the Canadiens zone to the top of the slot, where he fired a wrist shot through traffic past Halak for his seventh goal.

Maxim Lapierre returned to Montreal's lineup after serving a four-game suspension for his hit from behind on San Jose's Scott Nichol.

Markov extended his points streak to six games when he opened the scoring with a power-play goal 6:02 in. The Russian defenseman was credited with his fifth goal when his slap shot from the point was redirected past Rask off Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's stick.

Markov got his second point of the opening period with an assist on Kostitsyn's goal at 19:20. Kostitsyn scored for the second straight game with 39.5 seconds left when he swiped the puck inside the left post with a backhand from the edge of the crease after Markov made a return pass from behind the goal line.

Wheeler drew the Bruins to 2-1 with his 16th goal 1:12 into the second.

NOTES: Bruins C Patrice Bergeron was one of six Canadian Olympic medalists honored prior to the game. Bergeron drew cheers as he skated to center ice and donned a red Canada ballcap. He was joined by Kim St. Pierre, Charline Labonte, Catherine Ward and Caroline Ouellette — all members of Canada's gold medal-winning women's hockey team — and speed skater Clara Hughes, who won bronze in the women's 5000 meters. ... Canadiens equipment manager Pierre Gervais, who served the same role with the Canadian men's hockey team in Vancouver, also was introduced to the crowd. ... Markov has two goals and seven assists during his streak.

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