Thrashers deny Habs 6th home win

Brian Gionta scored two goals, but it wasn't enough to give the Montreal Canadiens another victory after their five-game winning streak at home.

Brian Gionta scored two goals, but it wasn't enough to give the Montreal Canadiens another victory after a five-game home winning streak.

The visiting Atlanta Thrashers (6-4-1) ultimately dominated in a 5-4 triumph over the Habs on Tuesday night.

The Canadiens (7-8-0) have only had one regulation win so far this season — finding most of this NHL season's success in overtime or shootout wins.

Though the victories have helped the team break out of a scoring slump, it has struggled defensively. The team surrendered 13 goals in the last three games.

Montreal claimed only three goals in two away games before winning its last home game 5-4 against Toronto on Saturday.

Despite some big, hard shots early on from both sides, only Atlanta got goals in the first period.

The Thrashers' Bryan Little grabbed the first goal of the night at 17:34, shooting it through Carey Price's legs when he was drawn out of the net to the right.

"It was flukey, but I'll take anything to get it started," Little said.

Little followed up with an assist to Rich Peverley for the second goal with only 12 seconds to go.

"That was one of the greatest games I've been part of," said Peverley. "They came back and we answered. That showed a lot of character, but they showed a lot of character too."

The game heated up in the second, when Jaroslav Spacek of the Canadiens was credited with a hit on Rich Peverley in a neutral zone. Peverley left the game but later returned.

Gionta grabbed the first goal of the night for the Habs in a hard slapshot.

The Thrashers hit back with a goal by Mark Popovic, his first in the NHL.

Montreal responded with another from Mike Cammalleri, who has racked up points since being signed by general manager Bob Gainey.

Seesaw third period

In the third, Montreal and Atlanta continued their cat-and-mouse game, pounding goals back and forth into each other's nets.

Little claimed his second of the night, tying the game 3-3. The equalizer didn't last for long. Pavel Kubina knocked in another goal.

The Habs' Tomas Plekanec and Atlanta's Colby Armstrong each scored soon after.

Despite losing, the Canadiens had more overall shots on net — 38-30 — than the Thrashers. They also outshot Atlanta 7-0 in overtime in their first matchup Oct. 20.

"What concerns me most is our lack of effectiveness in protecting our goaltender," said Montreal coach Jacques Martin.

"Part of that starts in the offensive zone with back pressure — helping the defence — but also in being more effective in the defensive zone.

"I thought Carey kept us in the game in the first period. The (last two) goals weren't his fault."