Cole nets 2 in 3rd, Canadiens beat Canucks 4-1

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Erik Cole scored two third-period goals, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Saturday night for their first winning streak in a month.

Cole gave Montreal a 2-1 lead with a soft backhanded shot that eluded goalie Roberto Luongo 13 seconds into the third period. He made it 4-1 with 8:58 left, knocking in his own rebound for his 25th goal of the season and third in four games.

P.K. Subban had a power-play goal, and Blake Geoffrion netted his first tally of the season for the injury-plagued Canadiens, who outshot Vancouver 30-18 over the final two periods. It was the third win in 10 games for Montreal (27-32-10).

The last time the Canadiens -- the last-place team in the Eastern Conference -- strung wins together was a four-game streak that ended Feb. 11 with a 5-0 victory at Toronto.

Ryan Kesler gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead in the second period.

The Canucks (42-19-8) have lost three of the first games of their seven-game homestand. They trail Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues by three points.

Cole gave Montreal the lead on what appeared to be a harmless shot.

He entered the Vancouver zone, had a shot blocked by Alex Edler, but went around the Canucks defenseman and flipped a backhand. The puck found its way inside the short-side post and under Luongo's glove.

Subban made it 3-1 with one second remaining in a two-man Montreal advantage, firing a slap shot past Luongo from the top of the circle. Edler and Chris Higgins had been penalized for delay of game.

The teams were tied 1-1 entering the third period. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault split up twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin after Cole scored.

Kesler, foiled twice in the second period by goalie Carey Price, opened the scoring at 11:58 of the frame with his second goal in two games. His hard wrist shot inside the far post finished off a slick three-way passing play with linemates David Booth and Higgins.

Geoffrion, obtained in a trade from Nashville, tied it with 1:17 left in the period when he went to the net to tip Louis Leblanc's pass under Luongo's leg. It was Geoffrion's first NHL goal in nearly a year. He also scored a game-winner in Vancouver last season for the Predators.

The Canadiens were outshot 15-5 in the first period, despite missing David Desharnais, Travis Moen, Brian Gionta and Mathieu Darche. They got some good news with the return of Andrei Markov.

The Russian defenseman hadn't played for 16 months because of a long rehabilitation from two knee operations. Markov, who missed 133 games over two seasons, earned a power-play assist.

A moment of silence was held before the game in memory of Nik Zoricic, the Toronto ski cross racer who died Saturday in a World Cup event in Switzerland.

NOTES: Desharnais, who sustained an undisclosed upper body injury Thursday in a 5-3 win over Edmonton was replaced in the lineup by Leblanc, Montreal's first-round pick in the 2009 draft. ... Vancouver beat the Canadiens 4-3 in a shootout on Dec. 8 in Montreal after the Canadiens squandered a 3-0 lead. ... Max Pacioretty is the first American-born player to score 30 goals for Montreal.