Montreal Canadiens defeat Chicago Blackhawks 4-1

Tribune reporter

MONTREAL — They're still chanting Cristobal Huet's name in this city.

Though fans cheered for the goaltender for parts of three seasons when he was a member of the Canadiens, they jeered the Hawks goalie Tuesday night.

But if the 21,273 fans at the Bell Center really wanted to mock the Blackhawks correctly, in addition to "Hu-et, Hu-et" they would have chanted "Black-hawks off-ense."

Hawks scorers were shut down for the second consecutive game as they fell 4-1 to the Canadiens and netminder Carey Price. The Hawks' drought reached 112 minutes 18 seconds before Patrick Sharp scored midway through the third period of a game that was basically already decided. The stagnant offensive effort followed Sunday night's shutout at the hands of Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.

The loss was the second in a row for the Hawks, who fell into fifth place in the Western Conference when the Canucks defeated Minnesota 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night to edge past Calgary into third.

The Hawks completed March with a 6-7-2 record after posting above-.500 marks the first five months of the season. They have seven games remaining as they battle for fourth place in the conference and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"[Montreal] was desperate for points, and they played a good game," Huet said. They scored early again, and after that Price made some good saves, especially in the second. They forechecked very well, and they got the points."

Huet played in 117 regular-season games with Montreal before being traded to Washington last season, then signed with the Hawks as a free agent over the summer. The veteran made 29 saves in his first start in five games after serving as Nikolai Khabibulin's backup.

Huet and the Hawks were almost immediately put on the defensive after Montreal's Alex Kovalev took a gift from Duncan Keith and scored 25 seconds into the game. Keith raced after a loose puck and put a backhand pass right on the stick of Kovalev, who beat Huet from in close.

Second-period goals by Guillaume Latendresse and Andrei Markov gave Price enough cushion as he stopped 28 Hawks shots. Price lost his shutout bid at 12:18 of the third when Sharp took a pass from Brian Campbell and fired a one-timer from just inside the blue line that sailed over Price's left shoulder.

Mathieu Schneider added a late power-play goal.

"A game like this we thought we should have had," said Hawks winger Patrick Kane, who had five shots on goal.

The Hawks, who have managed four goals over the last three games, were sloppy with the puck, and the Canadiens were credited with 13 takeaways to the Hawks' six.

"It starts in our own end," said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. "We're not supporting each other. We're not getting open, and we're not playing well enough without the puck so that guys who have the puck don't really have any options. I couldn't count how many times we gave the puck away in the neutral zone. We need to help each other a little bit more."

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