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Samsonov reunited with Kovalev

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Canadien scores pair after complaining to coach Carbonneau about lack of ice time
PAT HICKEY, The Gazette
Published: Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sergei Samsonov said he has no regrets about sounding off after Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau took him off the second line last week.

"If I didn't say anything, I might not have gotten as much ice time as I did," Samsonov said after the Canadiens lost a 5-4 shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Samsonov scored two goals last night and found himself reunited with fellow Russian Alex Kovalev as Carbonneau continued to search for winning line combinations.

He might have found one out of desperation in the third period as he shuffled the deck by putting Kovalev at centre and using him with Samsonov and Alexander Perezhoghin on his wings.

The trio helped the Canadiens mount an improbable comeback on a night when Toronto coach Paul Maurice was right when he said: "I thought we were better team all night and I would have felt ripped off if we hadn't pulled if off."

One look at the shots on goal gave credence to Maurice's opinion. The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 51-22 with an 8-2 edge in the overtime.

But with the new line producing some offence, the Canadiens rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third period with Kovalev earning assists on goals by Samsonov and Sheldon Souray. He also assisted on Samsonov's first goal.

Kovalev also got into trouble by talking too much last week, but he was also unrepentant. He was tossed from Thursday's game after he complained that Boston's Wayne Primeau was going after his knee.

"I think I got my point across," Kovalev said.

Kovalev said he wasn't surprised Samsonov bagged a pair of goals or that the new line enjoyed some success.

"(Samsonov's) a good player and it was just a matter of time before he started scoring," Kovalev said. "The coach told us we were going toplay together before the third. I've played centre before, Alex is a good skater and Sergei's very talented. I thought we played well. The next question is: Will we stay together? I don't know."

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