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Canadiens rally, defeat Blue Jackets in shootout

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets went beyond regulation for the third time in four days and the result was the same.

The Blue Jackets went to a shootout Friday at home against the Montreal Canadiens and came away with a single point again when David Desharnais scored the lone goal and Peter Budaj stopped all three attempts by Columbus for a 3-2 comeback victory.

Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller scored for Montreal in regulation after R.J. Umberger and Artem Anisimov gave Columbus a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Montreal (9-8-2) is 2-3-2 in its past seven games. Columbus (6-10-3), which lost this week in overtime to the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins, is 1-5-3 in its past nine.

"We're doing a lot of good things," Columbus left wing Nick Foligno said. "That's the frustrating part. We're not coming away with two points. There seems that lull, that little moment when we allow them to come back.

"We let them hang around. We let them hang around. We weren't able to put the nail in the coffin. It's nothing we can't fix."

Curtis McElhinney had 38 saves (all in regulation) for the Blue Jackets; Budaj faced 25 shots, including four in overtime when he denied Brandon Dubinsky and Nikita Nikitin with less than 15 seconds to play.

With the Canadiens hosting the New York Rangers on Saturday, coach Michel Therrien opted to start Budaj for the fourth time this season.

Columbus also went with its No. 2; McElhinney got his fourth start after the Blue Jackets lost 3-2 Thursday at Boston with Sergei Bobrovsky in net.

"It was a big win for us because we deserved it," Budaj said. "I don't want to take anything away from Columbus. They played last night. We jumped on them, kept the momentum. [McElhinney] played great for them. He made some big saves for them, kept them in the game. We were the better team tonight."

The Blue Jackets went first in the shootout and Budaj made a pad save on Mark Letestu. McElhinney did likewise at the other end on Galchenyuk. In round two, Budaj used his glove to deny an Anisimov backhand, and Desharnais, a healthy scratch in two of the previous four games, beat McElhinney with a tight shot. Columbus' last chance was Ryan Johansen, but Budaj didn't bite on a fake and made the save.

"It's always easier to go to the last shutout with the lead 1-0," Budaj said. "The pressure's on the player. That was big. It took the pressure away from me."

The goal by Desharnais, who had no goals and one assist in 17 games prior to Friday, was a reward for the faith shown in him by Therrien.

"He played well," Therrien said. "He started on the fourth line and I saw his intensity. I liked the way he practiced this week and I was not afraid to make some changing during the game. He created some chances 5-on-5. I'm really glad for him for his confidence."

The Canadiens fell behind then rallied with a goal late in the first period by Galchenyuk and a power-play score early in the second by Eller.

Eller was to the right of goal to collect a rebound of a shot by Daniel Briere and bank it off McElhinney at 7:34.

Montreal dominated the rest of the second period until the late stages, outshooting Columbus 15-1 in the first 17 minutes until the Blue Jackets had the final four shots.

A wild first period with crazy bounces and plays ended fittingly with a goal by Galchenyuk with 7.8 seconds left to leave the Canadiens trailing 2-1.

A turnover by Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin at his blue line -- he whiffed in trying to send a fluttering puck up ice to finish the period -- resulted in a break for Galchenyuk. Tyutin recovered and was going to be called for hooking but Galchenyuk maintained control of the puck to beat McElhinney for his fourth goal.

Columbus coach Todd Richards said Tyutin wasn't totally at fault after getting an ill-advised pass from Johansen.

"We just shoveled it back to our defenseman," Richards said. "It was a tough play for [Tyutin]. The puck was bouncing. He tries to make a play. It was just a bad decision."

It salvaged the period for the Canadiens, who despite a 14-10 advantage in shots gave up two quick goals.

Umberger made it 1-0 at 15:33 with a shot from a bad angle from the low left circle near the side wall. He was helped by a screen from Michael Chaput, and Budaj was unable to see the puck as it went off his pads and trickled into the goal.

The Blue Jackets scored again at 17:12 with Anisimov getting credit for a weird goal off a sequence that began with David Savard's shot from the right point hitting the post. He got the puck back and sent it across the ice to Nikitin. The defenseman teed the puck but fell down only to swat it behind him.

Anisimov then took a whack and the puck went airborne off a Montreal stick. Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll was checked into Budaj and both went to the ice. Boll was on his back when the shot from Anisimov bounced at the edge of the crease and went by Budaj before he could regain his skates.

"Even though we were down two goals we didn't panic," Therrien said. "We didn't change anything. We stuck to the plan and deserved to win."

The Blue Jackets announced before the game that right wing Marian Gaborik would miss at least a month with a sprained knee sustained late in the game Thursday at the Boston Bruins. Gaborik was third on the team in points with 11 and tied for the team lead with five goals.

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