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Markov gets an assist in long awaited return

Mar 11, 2012, 12:56 AM EST

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Andrei Markov Getty Images

It’s too late for Andrei Markov to help the Montreal Canadiens make the playoffs, but after nearly 16 months on the sidelines, he was finally able to contribute. Markov registered an assist on P.K. Subban’s power-play goal as the Canadiens cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This was also a special night for Blake Geoffrion, who came to Montreal from Nashville as part of the Hal Gill trade. Geoffrion netted his first goal in 28 games this season. Montreal’s Erik Cole scored twice to reached the 25-goal mark for the second straight season.

The game was tied at 1-1 going into the third period, but Montreal outshot Vancouver 18-11 in the final 20 minutes. Roberto Luongo ended up with 31 saves in the contest, but still suffered his second straight loss. Luongo has also allowed three or more goals in six of his last seven starts as the Canucks seem to be limping to the finish line.

Fortunately for Vancouver, they aren’t in any real danger of losing the Northwest Division title or even slipping lower than the second seed in the Western Conference. However, the Canucks’ recent struggles have been costly as they compete with the St. Louis Blues for the top position.

Vancouver will get a chance to regroup, as they are only scheduled to play one game over the next six days. Montreal will head to Buffalo for a game on Monday as they attempt to hurt the Sabres’ chances of making the playoffs.

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