Blackhawks upend struggling Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens left wing Mathieu Darche (L) controls the puck against Chicago Blackhawks centre...

Montreal Canadiens left wing Mathieu Darche (L) controls the puck against Chicago Blackhawks centre Patrick Sharp in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Chicago, December 21, 2011. (REUTERS/Frank Polich)

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, Last Updated: 10:53 PM ET

CHICAGO - Andrew Brunette and Patrick Sharp tallied 21 seconds apart in the second period, lifting the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.

Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell and Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won six of their past seven games.

Corey Crawford stopped 20-of-21 shots for the win.

Andrei Kostitsyn netted the lone goal for Montreal, which dropped its fourth straight, and third in a row under new head coach Randy Cunneyworth.

Peter Budaj made 23 saves for the loss.

After a scoreless first period, the Canadiens drew first blood on the power play at the 5:35 mark of the second. Tomas Plekanec controlled the disc at the left circle and snapped a shot, which Kostitsyn re-directed past Crawford.

The Blackhawks tied the score with 8:24 left in the second period. Brent Seabrook sent the puck behind the net. Brunette gained control and his backhanded wraparound slid past Budaj.

Just 21 seconds later, Chicago took the lead. Sharp skated down the left wing on a 2-on-1 breakaway and ripped the back of the net with a wrister from the left circle.

Chicago made it a 3-1 game midway through the third period. From behind the net, Bryan Bickell fed Stalberg in the high slot and he wristed it into the back of the net.

Toews scored an empty-netter with 1:17 left, and Bickel added a tally with 12 seconds left to seal the win for the Blackhawks.

Game Notes

Toews scored his 10th goal in his last 14 games and now has 20 goals on the season...Chicago is 8-1-1 in December...Montreal hasn't beaten the Blackhawks in Chicago since February 27, 2002.

 


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