Saku Koivu wasn't missed during his 5-game suspension, as Montreal went 3-1-1 with close wins over the Canucks and Devils and a decisive 4-1 win over divisional rival Sabres and a tie with the Hurricanes. The only loss in the last ten games was surprisingly to the young Senators.

The keys to recent success over the last 5 games:
(1) Todd White was three times a game star during Saku's absence, getting 5 goals and 3 assists on the second line with Zubrus (1 g, 3 a) and V. Bure (2 a).

(2) Garth Snow was twice the 1st game star.

(3) The makeshift first line: Kariya (3-2), Langkow (1-2), Stillman (2-4). 

Honourable mention goes to the powerplay units for four goals in three of the games, and to undrafted Kip Miller for points in his first two games.