MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens rallied from an early 3-0 deficit but couldn’t make up for a poor start and lost to the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime on Saturday.
Jake Walman played the overtime hero, hitting a slap shot from the left circle 54 seconds into overtime.
“We had a lot of guys not ready, that’s what happened. “It’s really difficult to make it in this league if you don’t start right and you shoot yourself in the foot,” said Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis.
“Not having your legs ready or being a little out of rhythm is one thing, but a lot of turnovers (which hurt us the most) put us on offense.”
Joe Veleno, Christian Fischer, Daniel Sprong and Alex DeBrincat also scored for Detroit (13-7-3), while Justin Barron, Joel Armia, Nick Suzuki and Gustav Lindstrom scored for Montreal (10-11-3). .
The Red Wings controlled the tempo early, enjoyed long periods of possession in the offensive zone and prevented Montreal from registering a shot in the first 10 minutes.
The opening goal was inevitable and came after seven minutes when Detroit forced another loss of possession through the forecheck. A shot from the point was deflected before a big rebound gave Montreal-born Veleno a wide-open goal.
“We just seemed to keep turning the puck over and making stupid mistakes on our blue line and their blue line. If you give up for a whole 20 minutes, it’s hard to win,” said Suzuki. “We can’t keep digging holes for ourselves. We had a few good chances but the goalkeepers made some good saves and there was some mishandling.”
Montreal’s years-long power struggles would continue. After turning the puck over at the blue line, Michael Rasmussen was sent into a breakaway while Fischer was there to collect the rebound when it was stopped.
Detroit added a third with less than a minute to play. During a two-on-one rush, Sprong decided to take the shot and beat Jake Allen on the blocker side. Montreal would score with six seconds left when Barron rifled home a rebound from the slot.
Less than five minutes into the second period, it was Montreal’s turn and scored in the shootout. After a two-on-one duel, Armia tried it himself and sent a shot over Ville Husso’s glove.
DeBrincat immediately erased that progress, restoring the Red Wings’ two-goal lead from a tight angle less than a minute later.
Montreal scored early in the third period when Suzuki picked the top corner on the power play. This was the Canadiens’ first power-play goal in 28 attempts since their loss to the Vancouver Canucks on November 12th.
Montreal continued to apply pressure toward the end of the third period and scored an equalizer from close range through Lindstrom, setting up overtime.
“It’s hard to win in this league and it’s even harder to win away from home. That’s why I think it’s great that we got two full points. “I didn’t hate (the third period), but we had a lot of looks and could have easily scored our fifth goal and put the game on the ice,” Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde said.
“A little fatigue crept into our game, and a few mistakes were probably a little self-inflicted. My thanks go to them, they put so much pressure on the boys to hold on.”
Canadiens: Host the Seattle Kraken on December 4th.
Red Wings: Travel to Buffalo to face the Sabers on December 5th.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2023.
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