After two periods in Montreal: Canadiens 4, Kings 1
The Kings pulled within 2-1 early in the second period but the Canadiens quickly re-established a two-goal lead and controlled every aspect of the game.
They were faster, stronger and grittier than the Kings and camped out in front of Jonathan Bernier with no fear of being muscled out of the way by a timid Kings defense. No surprise, then, that they built a commanding 4-1 lead through the first 40 minutes.
Play as badly as the Kings did in their own zone and it doesn’t matter whether the goaltender is Bernier, Jonathan Quick or the ghost of Jacques Plante — you’re going to struggle and more than likely lose.
The one positive note for the Kings was that defenseman Alec Martinez, summoned from Manchester on Tuesday to help the feeble power play, did his job by scoring on a nifty rising backhander from the right circle at 1:57. Hall Gill was in the penalty box for interference when the Kings set up in Montreal’s zone. Justin Williams took a long shot that rebounded to Martinez, who recorded his first NHL goal with that 20-foot backhander.
But Montreal made it 3-1 at 3:16. Andrei Kostitsyn’s shot was stopped, but the rebound came to Brian Gionta to the side of the net. He passed back to Tomas Plekanec, who rifled a shot past Bernier to the delight of the loud and spirited crowd at the Bell Centre.
Lars Eller’s first goal of the season stretched Montreal’s lead to 4-1 at 18:07 and sparked derisive cheers from the crowd directed toward Bernier, though he was hardly alone in deserving the razzing.
Montreal outshot the Kings, 15-7, in the period for a 25-16 edge through 40 minutes.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports
Helene Elliott in Montreal