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After dropping a six-game homestand winning streak on Saturday night, the Blues hosted the red-hot Canadiens before heading on a road trip.
Photo: Billy Hurst/USA Today Sports
Montréal’s 17-6-3 record placed them first in the league. They reached St. Louis after beating the Kings in a 5-4 shootout victory on Sunday.
It took 10:06 for the Canadiens to break-the-ice. About midway through the first period, Paul Byron tipped-in a loose puck to tally his eighth goal of the season and give his team a 1-0 lead.
“I thought the first period was an even period even though we were down 1-0,” said Ken Hitchcock. “We had lots of really good chances.”
Tomas Plekanec roofed a backhand shot on a 2-on-1 to extend the Canadiens’ lead to 2-0 with 2:18 remaining in the second period.
“The second period didn’t have any energy in it, and we were quiet. We were trying to score from too far away—we allowed ourselves to get stretched out,” said Hitchcock.
After two periods, the shots were even at 19. Then came the third.
With pressure in the offensive zone, Jaden Schwartz dished the puck to Paul Stastny around the hashmarks. Stastny darted the puck over Al Montoya’s right shoulder to cut the Canadiens’ lead in half 7:40 into the third.
Montoya stopped the first 22 shots he faced.
About three minutes later, Jay Bouwmeester’s shot from the point left a rebound waiting for Stastny, who slid the puck to a wide-open Schwartz. Schwartz tapped in his ninth of the season to knot the game at two-a-piece.
At the end of regulation, the Blues outshot Montréal 28 to 27.
Three periods of hockey wasn’t enough to declare a winner. For the second game in-a-row, the Blues headed into overtime.
Both teams had scoring chances, but the Blues capitalized 3:38 into overtime. Alexander Steen sent a breakaway pass to Schwartz, who drifted behind the Canadiens’ defense and lifted a backhander past Montoya. Schwartz’s game-winner was his second of the night and his tenth of the season.
“They’re a good defensive team and we just needed to regroup,” explained Schwartz. “The first two periods didn’t go our way. Once we got that first one, we knew we’d built a little momentum. We changed the lines a lot today and finally we got them working there in the third period.”
“Once we got the puck below the goal line, we did a heck of a job with it,” said Hitchcock. “The other thing we did a great job at in the third is we came back together.”
With the win, the St. Louis Blues improved their record to 15-7-4. They’ll head up north to face the New York Islanders on Thursday, 6:00 p.m.