The Canadiens needed a late goal from David Desharnais to rally and tie the game in regulation as the Devils had used a three-goal third period to take a 3-2 lead into the final minute of play.
Desharnais then scored the game winner in the shootout to give Montreal the 4-3 win.
“It wasn’t our prettiest win, but these are the points that are huge,” Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. “We did a good job Monday night and [Wednesday] of maybe stealing points that we probably didn’t deserve at times.”
Montreal is now in a position to take over first place in the Atlantic Division if they can beat Boston this evening in regulation time.
“We’ve played good hockey,” Desharnais said. “Sometimes it’s not our best hockey, but we find ways to win. Confidence is up right now. Everybody is playing well. Everybody is doing their job. We’re having fun. It’s great.”
In Calgary, Keith Yandle scored early in the first period to stake the Coyotes to a 1-0 lead. They were unable to hold or build on the lead and surrendered four unanswered goals as the Flames won, 4-1.
“You can’t say they’re lucky,” Yandle said. “They work hard for them. They put in their effort tonight. It’s something we didn’t get the bounces tonight, but hopefully we can get them the next game.”
The Flames were energized in part, by the return of their captain, Mark Giordano, who had missed 18 games. Giordano netted one goal and assisted on another.
“It felt pretty good,” Giordano said. “Your adrenaline gets going pretty quick. I really didn’t feel my ankle at all, so that’s a great sign.
“My wind and all that, I tried to keep it short all night and not over-extend myself out there, but it felt pretty good. Reacting sometimes was a bit slow I thought, but for the most part, we worked pretty hard with [strength and conditioning coach] Rich [Hesketh] in the gym and he does a good job of getting us ready.”
Kari Ramo picked up the win for Calgary making 29 saves on the night.
“Obviously when we win, you feel good,” Ramo said. “It was a while that I didn’t see a game, but I just have to go into every game and play game-by-game and not think about the situation too much or what’s going to happen. Just try to play game and enjoy it.”
The Coyotes are now 4-4-2 in their ten games.
“We came out, we played a really good first period, got unlucky goal at the end of the first period, probably gave them some momentum,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We couldn’t get it back. We had lots of pucks on the net, lots of opportunities. That’s the way it goes sometimes. The harder we tried, the less pucks found the back of the net and they seemed to capitalize on every break they got.”
Montreal 4, New Jersey 3 (SO)
Philadelphia 6, Detroit 3
Calgary 4, Phoenix 1
COUTURIER, FLYERS PICK UP RARE WIN IN THE MOTOR CITY
The Flyers scored five unanswered goals, including four in the third period, to overcome a two-goal deficit and pick up their second win in Detroit since Nov. 4, 1988 (2-15-3). Sean Couturier (2-2—4) posted a career-high four points, highlighted by two goals in the third period, including the game-winner (his second in the past four games).
* The Flyers are 12-6-2 in their last 20 games, including a 9-3-1 mark in their past 13, following a 1-7-0 start to the season.
* The Flyers last scored six goals in a game at Detroit on Feb. 16, 1990, a 9-6 loss.
* The Flyers went 3-for-3 on the power play to raise their road efficiency to 26.7% (12-for-45), which ranks third in the NHL. The team last scored three power-play goals in a game on Feb. 23, a 5-3 victory over the Jets, but hadn’t done so on the road since Dec. 2, 2011, a 4-3 overtime win over the Ducks.
* The Flyers won for the first time this season when trailing after two periods (1-9-0). They also won for the first time when allowing three or more goals (1-10-0).
* Couturier has 5-5—10 in his past nine games after totaling 0-4—4 in his first 19 outings this season. He also recorded a four-point game in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, compiling 3-1—4 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus the Penguins.
DESHARNAIS, CANADIENS BEAT DEVILS IN WILD FINISH
David Desharnais scored the tying goal with 36.6 seconds remaining in regulation – just 29 seconds after Patrik Elias gave New Jersey the lead – and added the deciding goal in the shootout to help the Canadiens sweep a home-and-home series from the Devils.
* The Canadiens have won seven of their past eight games (7-0-1), including three straight. They are 9-1-2 in their last 12 contests following an 8-8-1 start to the season.
Desharnais has 3-6—9 in his past eight games after totaling 0-1—1 in his first 19 outings of the season.
* Peter Budaj made a season-high 31 saves to improve to 5-1-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and one shutout. All seven of his appearances this season have come on the road.
GIORDANO SPARKS FLAMES IN RETURN
Captain Mark Giordano posted 1-1—2 in his first game since Oct. 21 and the Flames scored four unanswered goals to pick up their second consecutive win. Giordano, who missed the last 18 contests with a broken ankle, has 3-8—11 in nine games this season.
* The Flames improved to 5-2-2 with Giordano in the lineup. They went 5-11-2 without him.
* Karri Ramo made 29 saves for his fourth victory of the season and second straight. He hadn’t won consecutive games since March 12-14, 2009.
* Lee Stempniak scored his second shorthanded goal in his past 15 games. He had one shorthanded tally in the first 569 games of his NHL career.
* The Flames lead the NHL with six shorthanded goals this season.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wednesday marked just the third time since the 2002-03 season – and first time since April 18, 2006 – the Red Wings played a game without both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Detroit has compiled the most wins (regular season and playoffs) of any NHL team since the last time both players were out of the lineup.
MOST WINS SINCE APRIL 18, 2006 (REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS)
1. Detroit Red Wings: 395
2. Pittsburgh Penguins: 392
3. San Jose Sharks: 384
t-4. Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks: 361
LUNDQVIST, RANGERS AGREE TO EXTENSION
The Rangers signed goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner, to a seven-year contract extension worth a reported $59.5 million.
Lundqvist, 31, was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round (205th overall) of the 2000 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2005, and has since compiled a 284-182-57 record with a 2.26 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and 47 shutouts in 531 career regular-season appearances. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Lundqvist leads the NHL in wins and goals-against average (min. 165 games played) in that time span, while ranking second in games played and shutouts.
Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar (2-0—2) posted his first career multi-goal game . . . Flyers forwards Scott Hartnell (1-2—3), Matt Read (1-2—3), Steve Downie (1-1—2) and Claude Giroux (1-1—2) had multi-point performances . . . Red Wings forward Johan Franzen scored his eighth goal of the season to stretch his point streak to five games (3-5—8) . . . Devils forward Reid Boucher recorded an assist and scored in the shootout in his NHL debut. The 20-year-old Boucher was selected by the Devils in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ Buffalo, 7:00 p.m., MSG, MSG-B, BELL TV
Dallas @ Toronto, 7:00 p.m., FS-SW, LEAFS TV
San Jose @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., CSN-CA, ROOT
Boston @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., RDS, NESN, TSN-HABS
Ottawa @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., SNET-OTT, TVA, SUN
Winnipeg @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., TSN-JETS, FS-F
NY Islanders @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., MSG PLUS, FS-MW
Carolina @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., SPSO, FS-TN
Chicago @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CSN-CH, FS-N
Colorado @ Edmonton, 9:30 p.m., ALT, SNET-EDM
SHARKS VISIT PENGUINS IN MATCHUP OF TWO OF THE NHL’S BEST
The Sharks (19-3-5, 43 points) visit the Penguins (19-9-1, 39 points) in a battle of two of the NHL’s top teams. San Jose, which has won six consecutive games, ranks second in the League standings, while Pittsburgh, winners of four straight, places sixth. Tyler Kennedy makes his return to Pittsburgh, the city where he spent the first six seasons of his NHL career, following an offseason trade. The 27-year-old forward played 372 regular-season games for the Penguins, compiling 76-92—168, and also helped the team capture the 2009 Stanley Cup.
BLACKHAWKS, WILD MEET ON NHLN-US
The Blackhawks (20-5-4, 44 points) visit the Wild (16-8-5, 37 points) in another matchup of two of the League’s top 10 teams. The clubs already have faced off two times this season, with each picking up a road victory. The Wild have won 11 of their last 14 games overall at Xcel Energy Center, including seven of their past nine, while the Blackhawks have won six consecutive road games and lead the NHL with an 11-3-1 mark as visitors.
ORIGINAL SIX CLUBS BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE
The Canadiens (17-9-3, 37 points) plays host to the Bruins (18-7-2, 38 points) in a battle for first place in the Atlantic Division. Thursday marks the first of four meetings between the clubs in 2013-14. They have played each other 721 times during the regular season, with Montreal (348-263-110) holding 806-651 points advantage, including three consecutive wins (BOS: 270-340-111). The Canadiens are 7-0-1 in their last eight games overall, including three straight wins, while the Bruins are 6-1-1 in their past eight contests.