MONTREAL -- It began as an emotional night, and ended as an exciting one.
P.K. Subban was back at the Bell Centre for the first time as a member of the Nashville Predators on Thursday, and he could have hardly asked for a better reintroduction.
Following a moving ovation prior to puck drop, the former Hab drew another round of applause when he helped open the scoring with an assist on Ryan Ellis' first-period marker.
Video: NSH@MTL: Subban receives tribute in Montreal return
"For sure it was emotional for him. He played really hard for us here," acknowledged goaltender Carey Price, who spent seven seasons alongside Subban in Montreal. "This was his home, and no doubt he was a fan favorite. I'm just happy that the fans received him like that."
But that was all Subban and the Preds would get.
A scoreless middle 20 would set up the type of close third the Habs have been thriving in lately, except this time the regulation 60 was all that was required.
Albeit nearly every last second of it.
"It was a little close there, it almost went to another overtime," cracked Paul Byron, who scored the game-winner with 0:08 left on the board to bring the fans to their feet for good, and end a string of three consecutive overtime decisions. "At this time of year, every point is hard to get. Every game is a playoff-type game, and no one wants to give up even a little. You've just got to stay with the program, keep digging, and go to the net to hopefully get a good break. [Brendan Gallagher] did a great job of getting us going there in the third period -- he really gave our team some momentum -- and as always Carey was unbelievable."
Video: NSH@MTL: Byron steals puck, buries late go-ahead goal
Talk about momentum. Gallagher's goal -- his first in 10 outings -- got the ball rolling for Byron to snap a 13-game draught of his own.
"It's a good feeling, obviously. I want to contribute any way I can, and the best way to do that is by scoring goals," underlined Gallagher, who now counts seven on the season. "There were times in the game where we were frustrated, but we stuck with it. We weren't able to produce all that many offensive chances, but we found a way to make two count."
According to the 24-year-old forward, it's no coincidence that the Habs have a new-found talent of making something out of nothing these days.
"I think [Claude Julien] is a big part of it. The message that he's given us behind the bench since he got here is that we're going to have to be able to win these types of games moving forward," continued Gallagher, as the Habs now improve to 5-2-0 under their new head coach. "It's a good test for us every single night. It doesn't really matter if things have gone our way or not, we've got to find a way to make every game close and competitive. We weren't playing great and we weren't playing poorly -- it was just a game where not much was happening -- but we came out in the third period and found a way to score two goals. Going forward, that gives our group a lot of confidence."