Hackett just misses first shutout in 2-plus years


MONTREAL (AP) -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien can't
go wrong when he chooses his starting goalie these days.

Jeff Hackett came within 2:14 of his first shutout in more than
2 years, and Yanic Perreault scored two power-play goals as
Montreal beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 Saturday night.

The Canadiens, 4-1-2 in their last seven games, came close to
recording shutouts in consecutive games. Jose Theodore got his
first shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over the New York
Islanders on Thursday.

"I'm feeling so much confidence with that situation because we
know we have two guys who can do a great job,'' Therrien said.

Hackett, undefeated in six starts this season, is happy with the
way Therrien is using him and Theodore, last season's league MVP.

"I think he just has a plan of when we're going to play during
the week and he's stuck with it so far, and I think it's good for
both guys,'' said Hackett, who improved to 4-0-2.

Richard Zednik scored between Perreault's goals as Montreal took
a 3-0 lead in the first period. Perreault had a chance at a hat
trick late in the third but missed an empty net.

"I had some good chances in the second period and at the end,
when you see that open net, it seems the puck never wants to sit
down properly on the ice,'' Perreault said.

Lubomir Visnovsky scored 17:46 into the third to ruin Hackett's
bid for his first shutout since April 5, 2000.

Hackett, who appeared in just 34 games for Montreal while
plagued by injuries over the last two seasons, made a sensational
glove save on Bryan Smolinski's backhander moments later to
preserve the Canadiens' two-goal lead.

"I made a save on the point shot, and (Smolinski) shot it and I
just reacted,'' Hackett said. "If they score on that one, it's a
3-2 hockey game with a minute left. Games are never over in this
league. It's a relief when the game's over and we have win.''

Los Angeles, which won 3-2 in Ottawa on Friday, is 1-2-0 on its
season-high eight-game road trip.

"We just didn't play with a National Hockey League level of
determination in the first period,'' Kings coach Andy Murray said.

Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov set up Perreault's first goal
4:31 in when he intercepted defenseman Aaron Miller's clearing
attempt. Markov passed ahead to Perreault, who fired a quick shot
to beat Felix Potvin.

Potvin had little chance on Montreal's second goal. Zednik
jumped on a rebound of Mariusz Czerkawski's shot off the Los
Angeles goalie's stick to score his seventh of the season from the
edge of the crease at 8:43.

Perreault scored his sixth of the season -- his second of the
game -- with 7:52 left in the first when he put a shot over Potvin's
left arm to increase Montreal's lead to three.

Zigmund Palffy had the Kings' best scoring chance through the
first two periods when he shot wide after taking a pass from rookie
Mike Cammalleri on a 2-on-1.

Game notes
The Kings are 0-3-0 this season in the second of
back-to-back games. Los Angeles had a 5-3-2-1 record in the same
situation last season. ... Canadiens center Joe Juneau played his
700th game. ... Theodore had shutouts in consecutive games for the
Canadiens last Feb. 5 and 7.