Series (Game 1 of 1)

Montreal leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, December 7th

Canadiens 4

(11-10-2, 28 pts)

Coyotes 2

(8-14-2, 22 pts)

10:00 PM ET, December 7, 2002

US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona

1 2 3 T
MTL 4 0 4
ARI 1 1 2

J. Hackett (Canadiens - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .935

M. Ribeiro (Canadiens - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

P. Brisebois (Canadiens - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Zednik scores team-high 13th goal in win

PHOENIX (AP) -- After an overtime loss in Denver's high altitude the night before, the Montreal Canadiens arrived in Phoenix hoping to just stay in the game long enough to get their legs back.

Jeff Hackett

Thanks to a yeoman effort from goalie Jeff Hackett, they did.

Hackett had 14 of his 29 saves in the first period, allowing the Canadiens to take a 3-0 lead that stood up for a 4-2 victory over the Coyotes on Saturday night.

"He was on top of it and let us get our momentum, and I think we played a lot better after that,'' forward Chad Kilger said.

Richard Zednik scored his team-high 13th goal as the Canadiens ended a four-game winless streak.

Randy McKay, Kilger and Andreas Dackell had the other Montreal goals, and Mike Ribeiro had two assists.

Tony Amonte cut the Coyotes' deficit to 4-1 late in the second period, and Branko Radivojevic scored for Phoenix with 2:41 remaining.

The Canadiens were 0-2-0-2 after their 7-6 loss at Colorado. But they had another streak going -- a 1-0-2 mark in the last three games against Phoenix.

They wasted little time scoring on the slumping Coyotes, 1-4-4-1 in their last 10 games and 2-7-3-1 at home.

Phoenix, desperate to reverse a trend of slow starts, outshot Montreal 7-1 in the first eight minutes, but Hackett handled all of the attempts.

"They came out strong and put a lot of pressure on us, but I think Jeff Hackett was the difference, especially in that first period,'' Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.

At the other end, Patrick DesRochers stopped Craig Rivet's shot -- Montreal's second -- but lost his balance. Zednik scored when he scooped the rebound over the fallen goalie 9:01 in. It was the ninth time in 10 games Phoenix fell behind in the first period.

"Don't ask why weren't you prepared, because I thought we were prepared,'' Phoenix coach Bob Francis said. "We had a good start, we were outshooting them 7-1, and next thing you know you're down 3-0.''

McKay beat DesRochers from the circle with 4:36 left in the period, and Kilger made it 3-0 with 1:55 to play when he swept down the left side and fired across into the net from the bottom of the circle.

Kilger's unassisted goal, which came against his former team, proved to be the game-winner.

"It's nice to score against anybody,'' said Kilger, who played with Chicago and Edmonton after Phoenix traded him to the Blackhawks in December 2000. "It's tough to come by goals. I'm just hoping to contribute offensively and defensively, and it's nice to do that.''

Brian Boucher was screened by teammate Radoslav Suchy when he allowed Dackell's goal 5:01 into the second period.

Amonte scored his eighth goal from high in the slot, firing a shot that deflected off the stick of a Montreal defenseman and into the top corner of the net.

"The first one or two shifts we felt like we were playing the kind of hockey we needed to,'' Phoenix forward Shane Doan said. "But then the lapses started again, the breakdowns. It's just long and frustrating.''

Game notes

Canadiens RW Donald Audette was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in six games. ... Phoenix D Danny Markov played in his 300th game, 100 with the Coyotes. ... Kilger made his second straight start on the line of C Saku Koivu and RW Zednik. ... Montreal is 5-2-4 against the Coyotes since the franchise moved to Phoenix in 1996.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press