David Desharnais and Brian Gionta scored 67 seconds apart early in the first period and the visiting Montreal Canadiens went on to beat the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Tuesday night.

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — David Desharnais and Brian Gionta scored 67 seconds apart early in the first period, Carey Price made 37 saves and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Tuesday night.

Andrei Kostitsyn ended a 12-game goal drought as Montreal won in Vancouver for the first time since 2000.

Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Sedin scored power-play goals, and Roberto Luongo made 22 saves as the Canucks lost at home in regulation for the fifth time this season (21-5-5).

Of falling behind 2-0, Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler said, “For whatever reason, our battle level wasn’t there.”

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The Canucks’ lead atop the league is down to one point over Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia.

Price, a British Columbia native, punched a hole in the visiting dressing room wall after giving up seven goals during a loss early last season. His return went better, as he made a handful of game-saving stops in the third period while at least 50 family members and friends watched.

“I put a lot of mental preparation into this one,” Price said.

Montreal killed a 37-second, five-on-three power play to end the second period, but Samuelsson closed out scoring with a power-play goal 1:06 into the third. Daniel Sedin assisted on the play, giving him 78 points, three more than Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for the league scoring lead.

Both teams were missing three regular defensemen, but the Canucks got Dan Hamhuis back from a concussion that kept him out of action for five games.

Actor Tom Cruise, who is in the Vancouver area filming “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” watched the game from the Canucks’ management box.

Russia might host


NEW YORK — Negotiations to send the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals to Russia to begin the 2011-12 season are near a conclusion, with a decision expected within two weeks, officials of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League said.

NHL officials said Alexander Medvedev, the KHL president, and Ilya Kochevrin, vice president for marketing and communication, met recently with Ken Yaffe, senior vice president for NHL International.

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