MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Saturday night's 2-1 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
What a first for the hometown kid
Trailing 1-0 late in the third, Marco Scandella blasted it from the point to beat Toronto starter Jack Campbell and give his team the equalizer with just 2:33 to go in regulation. It was the Montreal native's first as a Hab, and the Bell Centre crowd erupted in celebration as a result.
Acquired from Buffalo on January 3, the hometown kid had been imagining himself scoring a goal in bleu-blanc-rouge all his life, and the moment, once arrived, couldn't have been more perfect.
"Ever since I was young, I wanted to score for Montreal against the Maple Leafs," beamed Scandella, a veteran of 565 NHL contests with the Minnesota Wild, Sabres, and Canadiens. "It was a dream. It was 1-0, late in the third, I can't even describe the emotions."
Video: Marco Scandella on his first goal as a Hab
The tally capped off a strong night at the office for Scandella, who involved himself in the play offensively with some nifty centering passes on the rush, and registered two shots, three blocked shots, and a takeaway in 15:07 of ice time.
Scandella was paired with Xavier Ouellet on Saturday, and the fellow Quebecer thought the two fared well together on the backend.
"I find it went well, we were really solid together. Defensively, we got pucks out of our zone, we didn't give a lot, and offensively, we found a way to create chances," described Ouellet, who played his first game of the season in Montreal and earned a helper on Scandella's tally. "In general, it was a good game."
Video: Xavier Ouellet on Marco Scandella
Kovy plays the hero again
There has been no end to the talk about what Ilya Kovalchuk has brought to the Canadiens' locker room since his arrival, and the Russian sniper once again did not disappoint.
When Nick Suzuki broke away in overtime and saw the puck poke-checked away by Campbell, Kovalchuk was there to pick it up and wire it past the Leafs netminder to give the Habs the win.
In the room afterwards, defenseman Ben Chiarot once again praised the 36-year-old for the positive influence he has had on the club.
"It's infectious, especially for young guys to see someone who's had that much success in the League, and it shows why. He puts the effort in in practice, on the ice, in the gym. He's constantly trying to get better," Chiarot said of the 13-year veteran. "And this is a guy who's scored  goals in the NHL, so to see a guy like that working every day, it's a great example for the young guys in the room to learn from. They can appreciate why he's been so good for so long."
Video: Ben Chiarot on the power play
He may be a father figure in the room, but Kovalchuk told reporters he dedicated this overtime winner to his "actual" children, who recently joined him in Montreal.
"It was my older boy's birthday yesterday - 11 years old - so he asked me to score," shared Kovalchuk, who has 12 points (6G, 6A) in 15 games with the Canadiens. "I don't think it can be any better."
Playoff-like atmosphere on a classic Saturday night
Saturday's contest marked Kovalchuk's first foray into the historic Montreal-Toronto rivalry. With the stakes extra-high given the two teams' positions in the standings, intensity was at its peak both on the ice and in the crowd.
Kovalchuk enjoyed the atmosphere, although he thought the fans might've appreciated hearing the goal horn sound a bit more often.
"It was good, it was fun. I think the fans expected a lot of goals, but that went the other way. Everybody was a little nervous and afraid to make a mistake," admitted Kovalchuk. "But I think in the third period we opened up and we played much better."
Video: Ilya Kovalchuk on the Habs-Leafs rivalry
The Canadiens hold their annual Skills Competition presented by RONA on Sunday morning. Their next game is Monday night against the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre.
For tickets to the game, click here.