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Ribeiro scores with 27.9 seconds left in OT

1/30/2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Montreal Canadiens regained their
confidence with an impressive comeback.

Richard Zednik scored off a perfectly timed pass from Mike
Ribeiro with 27.9 seconds left in overtime, and Montreal ended its
three-game losing skid Thursday night with a 3-2 victory over the
Minnesota Wild.

"This was a huge win for us," said Ribeiro, who also scored
the tying goal in the third period. "It's never easy to win in
Minnesota, especially when you have to come back from 2-0."

Patrice Brisebois also had a goal and an assist for the
Canadiens, who lead the New York Islanders by three points for
seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Mathieu Garon stopped 27 shots in place of Jose Theodore,
Montreal's All-Star goaltender.

"Jose needed a break because he's an All-Star," Canadiens
coach Claude Julien said. "If he wasn't, he'd get his rest then.
But now we have to find spots for him in the schedule."

This one appeared to be a bad choice after Garon gave up goals
in the first two periods. But he stiffened in the net after that.

"He made some great saves in OT," Julien said.

Garon, who made only his second start in Montreal's last 16
games, turned back a flurry of shots in overtime. The quicker Wild
outshot Montreal 5-2 in the extra period.

"They got a lot of chances," Brisebois said. "They were
skating and skating. We were just trying to cover the slot."

After breaking away down the right side, Ribeiro skated behind
the net and found Zednik in the left circle. Zednik's hard shot
beat Dwayne Roloson.

Minnesota was unbeaten in its previous four home games.

The Wild's 15 previous overtime games ended in a tie, matching
an NHL record set by the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.

Roloson finished with 26 saves for the Wild, who got goals from
Jason Marshall and Antti Laaksonen.

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire wasn't pleased with his team's focus
after Minnesota scored its first goal.

"I felt like we slowed down a little bit," he said.

With the Wild trailing 2-1, Ribeiro tied it on a power play at
5:58 of the third. From the right point, Brisebois flipped a pass
to Ribeiro, who was standing to the left of the net. Ribeiro
backhanded the puck past Roloson.

Earlier, the Wild looked as if they had a good chance to earn
only their fourth win in 19 games.

The Wild had the capacity crowd on edge during overtime, sending
several shots toward the net, but Garon made nice stops with his
pads.

"Sometimes when you press hard in overtime, bad things can
happen," Minnesota's Wes Walz said.

Marshall's power-play goal gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead midway
through the first. His hard shot from the blue line zipped behind
Stephane Quintal and into the net.

Laaksonen made it 2-0 at 5:07 of the second off an impressive
assist from Walz, who was activated from injured reserve after
missing Minnesota's previous 11 games with a sprained right
shoulder.

Walz beat a Canadiens defender to a loose puck along the boards,
skated in from the left side and zipped the puck perfectly to a
streaking Laaksonen, who beat Garon to the glove side.

Montreal pulled to 2-1 on Brisebois' first goal of the season.
After Yanic Perreault won a faceoff, Darren Langdon tipped the puck
out to Brisebois, who wristed it from the slot between Roloson's
pads.

Game notes
The Wild placed D Andrei Zyuzin on injured reserve with a
strained groin to make room for Walz. ... The Wild front office
(general manager Doug Risebrough, coach Jacques Lemaire, assistant
Mario Tremblay and amateur scouting coordinator Guy Lapointe) won a
combined 23 Stanley Cup championships with Montreal. ... The
Canadiens played only their second game at the Xcel Energy Center,
site of this year's All-Star game. They lost their previous road
game to the Wild 4-2 in January 2002.