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Fighting back and coming out on top

The Canadiens found themselves in a late hole in Winnipeg, but they battled their way out of it and walked away with a huge win

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

WINNIPEG - The Canadiens weren't about to let the Jets get the best of them on Saturday night.

After surrendering a pair of goals early in the third period, Claude Julien's troops found themselves down 4-2 with 13:21 remaining in regulation time. 

But, they just kept on working away and peppering goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, and it ultimately yielded results when it mattered most.

Tomas Plekanec cut the Jets' advantage to one at the 8:17 mark of the final frame, before Jeff Petry tied things up with just 4:44 to go.

Then, captain Max Pacioretty played the role of hero to perfection in overtime, notching the decisive goal to give the Canadiens a 5-4 victory at Bell MTS Place.

Video: MTL@WPG: Pacioretty nets OT winner on the power play

It was the ninth OT winner of Pacioretty's career, tying Aurele Joliat and Howie Morenz for the most OT markers in franchise history in the process.

To say that the come-from-behind victory did Pacioretty and the rest of the group a world of good would be a serious understatement.

"Too many times, we maybe felt sorry for ourselves [this year], felt like there was nothing we could do, but the energy on the bench, the things the guys were saying, and the support the guys were giving one another and how we were able to roll lines and keep them in their zone," said Pacioretty, following the up-and-down affair in Manitoba that came to a close with his fifth goal of the season. "There were some shifts where I felt we tired out their top guys, and that goes a long way and it gives you a chance to come back in the game. I really felt that the emotion and the confidence and the resiliency, everybody was playing the right way and saying the right things, and that goes a long way."

With Carey Price on the sidelines, Al Montoya stepped up to the plate and turned aside 19 shots to earn his second win of the 2017-18 campaign. The veteran netminder couldn't say enough good things about the way the team responded to their latest bout with adversity.

"The character showed up in this room. Our best players were our best players. That's something fun to watch," said Montoya, who was thrust into action after it was revealed that Price was dealing with a minor lower-body injury. "We've been battling all year long. We haven't gotten the end result that we've wanted, but this team's been giving it everything. It's in this room, keep chipping away and that's the mentality we went through and I think you see the leadership and experience go right through it."

Video: Al Montoya on the Canadiens' resiliency and character

Pacioretty's snipe was one of a season-high three power play goals the Canadiens generated in their fifth victory of the season, with Andrew Shaw scoring the other two.

"The difference between our power play tonight and the games in the past was those second efforts. The shots have kind of been there. We've felt like we've been getting tons of power play shots, Shawzy with two strong efforts, a lot of wall battles, a lot of net-front battles," mentioned Pacioretty, after watching things click with the man advantage. "Those are the differences between scoring and just being satisfied with getting chances. Tonight, that showed."

It definitely did, and the Canadiens earned the right to walk away with two big points ahead of another big test on Sunday night in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

No doubt they'll be doing everything conceivably possible to carry this momentum into the Windy City to hopefully wrap up their three-game road trip on a high note.

"Moving forward, we have to use this confidence, but more so we have to remember what it took to win games and battles," noted Pacioretty. "That's those second efforts we keep talking about."

Video: Max Pacioretty on the big win over the Jets

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