The Montreal Canadiens scored four times in the first period to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 7-2, on Wednesday night.
After giving up four goals on 12 shots, Wings coach Mike Babcock pulled All-Star Jimmy Howard after the first period.
Backup goaltender Ty Conklin did not have an immediate impact, as he gave up the first two shots against him to begin the second period. He finished the game with 10 saves on 13 shots.
Rene Bourque opened the scoring, netting his 15th of the year 5:08 into the game. Alexei Emelin beat Howard almost six minutes later for his first NHL goal.
David Desharnais scored his first goal of the game at 17:58 before Tomas Plekanec ended the Habs scoring in the first period at 19:33.
Less than two minutes into the middle period, Max Pacioretty beat Conklin on Montreal’s first shot of the period. Desharnais added a power-play goal for his second of the game at 4:18.
Jiri Hudler scored both goals in the third period for the Red Wings, who fell to 13-14 on the road this season and lost for the first time since a 5-1 defeat at the New York Islanders on Jan. 10.
Canadiens netminder Carey Price, who will play in this weekend’s All-Star game as the lone representative from Montreal, made 25 saves on 27 shots.
Erik Cole added a late goal, his 19th this season.
The win gives Montreal a much-needed confidence boost as they head into the All-Star break. The Canadiens had lost five of their last seven prior to Wednesday’s game. Now sitting only eight points out of the playoffs, the Habs have their work cut out for them in their final push to the postseason.
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