MONTREAL - The Carolina Hurricanes climbed back from a 3-0 deficit to earn a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Justin Williams' goal with 77 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime, where Jeff Petry tallied the game-winner for the Canadiens.
Here are five takeaways from Leap Day in Montreal.
1. Earning a Point
In the second period, the Hurricanes were facing a 3-0 deficit. A slow start had put them behind early, and a couple of quick strikes from Montreal early in the middle frame made matters worse for the Canes.
But, to their credit, they didn't slink away. They didn't cower. They remained steadfast, finally got to their game and chipped away at the Habs' lead.
The result was a point, a consolation prize from a game that easily could have ended in nothing.
"We just rallied in here," Joel Edmundson said. "We knew if we went out and played the right way … at least we'd leave it all out there."
The Canes scored two goals in the third period, including one with the extra attacker on, in order to force overtime. Just 52 seconds into 3-on-3, Petry netted his 10th goal of the season to snag the extra point for Montreal.
The comeback and the point are the positives, but "all that is kind of lost on me right now," Justin Williams sighed after the game. "I'm happy we got a point seeing it was 3-0, but there's a little more to it than that."
2. Comeback Time
It started with a goal.
"We just had to stay in the game," Williams said.
Haydn Fleury gave the Canes some life in the second period with his fourth goal of the season. Jordan Staal won an offensive zone faceoff back to Fleury who briefly walked the blue line and snapped a shot that beat Charlie Lindgren.
Video: CAR@MTL: Fleury nets wrister through screen in front
Then, 74 seconds into the third period, Edmundson let go of a wrist shot from the point that beat Lindgren glove-side high through traffic in front.
"The third period mentality was just shoot everything towards the net and get bodies to the net," Edmundson said.
Video: CAR@MTL: Edmundson roofs snap shot from the point
It was that same mentality that led to the tying goal. It was again Edmundson from the point, and this time, Williams got a stick on the shot that might have otherwise gone wide of the cage. Instead, the puck bounced in past Lindgren.
"We have the group in here where we can come back from any deficit," Edmundson said. "But, this time of year, there's no excuse why we should be down or playing like that in the first two periods."
Video: CAR@MTL: Williams ties game with deflection in slot
3. A Slow Start
So, how did the Hurricanes even find themselves down a three-spot anyway? It began at the beginning, a forgettable one for the Canes.
The game wasn't even three minutes old when Phillip Danault cut towards the net in an open patch of ice and tapped in a pass from Tomas Tatar.
And, before the Canes even recorded a shot on goal, the Canadiens had already fired nine on Anton Forsberg.
"Our urgency from the start of the game just has to be better," Williams said.
Then, in the span of just 17 seconds early in the second period, the Canadiens turned their 1-0 lead into a 3-0 advantage.
With bodies scrambling chaotically in the slot, Max Domi located a free puck and scored to make it a 2-0 game. Shortly after, it was Brendan Gallagher ripping a bullet of a shot that beat Forsberg.
Looking for some sort of spark, Brind'Amour hailed Alex Nedeljkovic to replace Forsberg in net. Nedeljkovic stopped the first 18 shots he saw until Petry tallied in overtime.
"Anton played well and kept us in it in the start of the game," Brind'Amour said. "Ned was great when he came in."
4. Falling Behind
What began in early February as perhaps a strange anomaly has morphed into somewhat of a disturbing trend.
Since returning from the extended All-Star break in late January, the Canes have scored first in just three of their 14 games. They are 2-0-1 when scoring the first goal and 4-6-1 when surrendering the first goal.
The positive in this statistic is that the Canes have shown resilience and a dig-in attitude in order to negate a deficit. The obvious negative is that they've forced themselves to have to chase the game way more often than not. In doing so, they have to open their game up even more than usual, leaving them susceptible to defensive breakdowns - and they're already missing two of their top defensemen.
"We just can't chase games. We chase and chase and chase. It's exhausting," Williams said. "Teams will play above you and wait for you to take chances."
5. The Road Ahead
Four days separate the Canes from their next game. The team will then play 16 games in 27 days, a frantic March schedule that leaves little time for rest and recovery.
"I'd love to get a couple guys back in the lineup. That would help. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. As a group, hopefully we get refreshed for our last push. After these four days, it's just go until the end of the year," Brind'Amour said. "It's important for us to get mentally and physically ready."
The team is wisely approaching these next four days, with two off days and two practice days on the schedule.
"Maybe get a round of golf in, get away from hockey and get to know the new guys," Edmundson said. "Our schedule in March is kind of hectic. Whenever we get a day off, we'll take full advantage of it."
The Hurricanes come back home for a few days of practice before departing on a critical five-game road trip that features four Metropolitan Division opponents.