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Tough one to take

David Desharnais gets back on the scoresheet as the Canadiens fall to Florida in OT

by Matt Cudzinowski @canadiensmtl /

MONTREAL - Bad breaks. That's literally what cost the Canadiens a point on Tuesday night.

When Alex Galchenyuk's stick broke in overtime and he was forced to stay out there while the Florida Panthers were in full attack mode in the offensive zone, head coach Gerard Gallant's squad was essentially playing with a 3-on-2 man advantage.

Unfortunately, just as Phillip Danault got into the play in relief of the Canadiens' No. 27 - who managed to make his way to the bench - Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad lit the lamp on a slap shot as his stick broke as well, lifting Florida to a 4-3 win at the Bell Centre.

Video: Michel Therrien on the loss to Florida

It marked the first time all season that Michel Therrien's troops had failed to put up a number in the win column on home ice after rattling off 10 consecutive victories in Montreal, a brand new franchise record for the most home wins to start a year.

While the way things ultimately played out during Tuesday night's extra frame was certainly tough to swallow, captain Max Pacioretty was quick to praise the Canadiens' effort after rallying from one-goal deficits on two occasions - including a 3-2 deficit entering the third period - to push the game to OT and come away with something to show for it, as opposed to nothing at all.

Video: Max Pacioretty on Tuesday night's tough OT loss

"It could have gone either way. I think we played alright. It was good to come back. We didn't show our best in the first, but we battled in the second and came back to get the point and force it to overtime. Obviously, we would have liked to have a better fate, but it was a pretty good effort, I think," said Pacioretty, who scored his fourth goal of the season just 2:12 into the first period.

"Things [like that] happen," added Pacioretty, referencing the bad luck that struck Galchenyuk and the Canadiens in overtime. "We've gotten a lot of bounces to go our way. Those things even out as the season goes on. There are 82 games, so to use a word like "frustrated" right now wouldn't make sense."

For his part, David Desharnais had every reason to be pleased with his performance on Tuesday night, even if the final result didn't turn out as planned. Not only did Desharnais snap an 11-game pointless drought with an assist on Pacioretty's tally, but he also went on to add his first goal since the home opener on October 18. 

"I'm definitely happy. I think we're judged a lot on our stats and it was fun to pick up an assist right away. It really got me going," shared Desharnais, who was a healthy scratch on November 10 against Los Angeles. "When you're not generating points or scoring goals, it's all meaningless. [Hockey] is a game of numbers. That's the way it is. Regardless if you're playing well or not, you have to have good stats. That's what I'm trying to do."

Pacioretty was pleased to see the veteran centerman get back on track against Florida.

"I was really happy to see him break through. He played a strong game. He had a lot of looks, a lot of good opportunities. What I like is that he was shooting the puck. He has such a good shot. When his confidence isn't sky-high, he tends not to use it, so it's up to us as a team to make sure he knows to use his shot. You saw what kind of a great shot he has," explained Pacioretty, referencing Desharnais going top shelf on Panthers goaltender Robert Luongo with a blistering snap shot for his third goal of the season. "He's a guy that everyone's rooting for. He's a big part of this team. We were happy to see him be a difference-maker."

Video: FLA@MTL: Desharnais finishes great feed from Markov

The Canadiens' bench boss echoed those same thoughts, too.

"I found David to be very engaged. I thought he skated well. He was quick on the puck. That's the type of hockey he has to play if he wants to have success," mentioned Therrien. "He did that well [against Florida]. He had a good game."

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