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Marie-Philip Poulin, Charline Labonté Lead Canadiennes Over Toronto Furies

A three-point night from Marie-Philip Poulin and 18 saves from Charline Labonté led Les Canadiennes to a 3-1 win over Toronto Saturday night in Montreal.

Shanna Martin

Marie-Philip Poulin had scoring chances all over the ice from her very first shift for Les Canadiennes, and ended up with a goal and two assists as they improved to 6-1-0 on the season in the win over the Toronto Furies.

Poulin, who has only appeared in five of the team's seven games leads the CWHL with 14 points (eight goals, six assists) and her two closest rivals - Calgary's Elana Lovell and Brampton's Jamie Lee Rattray, both with 13 points - have played in nine games. She is also tied for the league lead in goals with Brampton's Jess Jones who has also played nine games.

"Being able to play with such a great team is such an honour for me," Poulin said after the game. "Caroline [Ouellette] was always a role model for me and [Ann-Sophie Bettez] is also a great player, they make it easy for me," she said.

After a scoreless first period, Les Canadiennes opened the scoring 1:04 into the second on the power play. Poulin found Bettez alone in the right face off circle with a perfect, crisp tape to tape pass and Bettez did not miss the open net as Toronto goaltender Christina Kessler could not slide across in time.

Montreal dominated play through most of the first 40 minutes, but only had one goal to show for it despite outshooting Toronto 22-13. Both Kessler and Charline Labonté proved why they are two of the best goaltenders in the league.

Early in the third, Montreal extended their lead. After a face off in the Toronto end, Poulin - who lost the draw - beat the opposing center to the puck and in one motion fired a wrist shot that went in and out of the net after hitting the inside cross bar. Toronto disputed the call, and the referees discussed the play but the goal stood.

Later in the third, Caroline Ouellette scored another weird one. She shot the puck off of Kessler's mask that deflected up in the air and fell to the ice behind Kessler before sliding into the net. Ouellette has one of the hardest shots in women's hockey and Kessler needed some time before she got back up to her feet.

In the end, Labonté's bid for two straight shutouts fell a few seconds short as Carolyne Prevost scored to make the score 3-1 with only 41 seconds left.

"Today was a good game. It could have gone either way," said Labonté. [Kessler] is a great goalie and she can steal a game and that's the case with every team in the league," she said.

"It's why we have to come prepared and we've had a really good start to the season but we've had tight games."

"Our lines are starting to click," said Canadiennes defender Julie Chu about the team getting scoring chances. "The players we added like Marie-Philip Poulin, Leslie OlesKatia Clement-Heydra are allowing us to have more offence," she said. "Last year we were in a lot of low-scoring games and this year we are able to get more pucks on net and more goals."

Last season through their first seven games (not counting the forfeited games against Boston) Les Canadiennes had 13 goals, for 1.86 per game. This season through seven games they already have 31 goals (4.42 goals per game).

They finish their weekend set with Toronto Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at Etienne-Desmarteau Arena.