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Blues blow lead, then beat Canadiens 4-3 in OT

by John Kreiser

It took a little longer than he would have liked, but new coach Davis Payne and the St. Louis Blues left the Bell Centre with two points on Wednesday night.

The Blues coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period, but got the win in overtime when Andy McDonald beat Carey Price 3:19 into overtime to give the Blues a 4-3 win over the struggling Montreal Canadiens.

The game-winner came on the return rush after Ty Conklin robbed Andrei Markov alone in front to keep the game going.

"We knew Montreal would make a push in the third period," said Payne, whose team has won five of its last six games and ends a three-game trip Thursday night in Ottawa. "You don't like giving up leads, but we got the two points.

"It got a little open there and they controlled the puck for most of the 4-on-4, but we got a great save on Markov and scored when we got a chance."

The Canadiens erased a two-goal deficit in the third period on goals from Benoit Pouliot -- his second of the night -- and Mike Cammalleri, who scored with 33 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Video review was needed to confirm the goal by Cammalleri, who tipped Jaroslav Spacek's shot out of the air past Conklin. It was originally thought that Scott Gomez had scored with a high stick.

Pouliot also scored in the first period for Montreal (23-23-5), which is winless in three games.

David Perron, Paul Kariya and Alexander Steen scored in the opening period for St. Louis, now 22-20-7 overall and 5-3-1 under Payne.

For Montreal coach Jacques Martin, whose team was outplayed for much of the night, it was a case of earning a point rather than letting one slip away.

"I didn't like how we played in the first two periods, but we battled in the third," he said. "We were playing too much in our own zone in the first two."

The Blues rested starter Chris Mason in favor of Conklin, who made 35 saves in his first start in eight games. He outplayed Price, who faced 28 shots.

"He hasn't played in a while and to be that sharp shows you what kind of pro he is," Payne said.

The usual sellout crowd of 21,273 got into the game early as Travis Moen and B.J. Crombeen dropped the gloves in the second minute of play, but things quickly went wrong for Montreal.

With Hal Gill serving a delay of game call, Scott Gomez had his weak clearing try intercepted by Steen, whose point shot was tipped past Price by Perron at 2:57. Only 38 seconds later, Price lost sight of a puck beside his net and Kariya banked the puck off the goaltender's skate and into the net.

Pouliot made it 2-1 at 7:38, but with 13 seconds left in the period, Steen was left alone to bang in Jay McClement's rebound for his fourth goal in five games.

After a scoreless second period, the Canadiens got back into the game when Barrett Jackman gave away the puck and Gomez fed Pouliot for a goal 9:11 into the third to start the comeback. Montreal outshot the Blues 14-5 in the third and 4-1 in overtime.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

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