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Canadiens stay perfect by defeating Red Wings

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens finally fell behind in a game, though it didn't last long as they remained perfect to extend their best start to a season in the team's illustrious 106-year history.

Jeff Petry scored a power-play goal at 6:32 of the third period, Carey Price made 21 saves and unbeaten Montreal won its sixth consecutive game, 4-1 against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

The Canadiens improved to 6-0-0, extending their team record for the most wins at the start of a season. Montreal, which has won the Stanley Cup a record 24 times, had won five and tied one through six games four times previously, most recently in 1977-78.

"You can't start it any better than what we're doing right now," said Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk, who had the primary assist on Petry's goal. "It's a lot of fun; we're competing out there and finding ways to win."

Petry scored the first goal by a Montreal defenseman this season with a drive from the left point, with center David Desharnais screening Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek.

"I didn't see the puck coming through; I think it went through two or three guys coming through," Mrazek said.

Brendan Gallagher scored the first of the Canadiens' two power-play goals to tie the game at 7:44 of the second. Montreal went 2-for-5 with the man advantage after scoring two power-play goals in its first 21 opportunities.

"We worked on some plays (Saturday) morning and had some good discussions," Petry said. "We knew the plays would come. You just have to set up a shot and get pucks to the net."

Gallagher assisted on Tomas Plekanec's fifth goal, which increased the Canadiens' lead to 3-1 with 2:04 left in the third.

Brian Flynn scored into an empty net with less that a second remaining.

Mrazek made 37 saves in his first game against Montreal, which has won seven in a row against the Red Wings.

Detroit lost 5-3 against the Carolina Hurricanes at home on Friday after winning its first three games.

"We've got to do a better job of generating more shots and not giving up as many; that means we're probably spending way too much time in our zone, so I think there's lots of areas that we can continue to improve at," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "It's the end of a five-game segment for us; our goal is to get six out of every 10 points, we did that, now we've got to move into a new one come Wednesday."

Dylan Larkin gave Detroit a short-lived lead with his second goal at 4:47 of the second period. The 19-year-old rookie extended his points streak to five games with an unassisted goal when his backhand from the right side banked into the net off Price's right pad.

"He's done a real good job, obviously, and he has an impact, I think, in every game in a positive fashion," Blashill said. "There's still things he needs to get better, and he and I and the coaching staff will work on that, but he's certainly done a really good job so far."

The Canadiens, who allowed the first goal for the first time in six games, had not trailed in their five previous games.

"It didn't change anything for us," Gallagher said. "I know we've been scoring the first goal a lot this year, and certainly that helps, but one of the things we talk about is to play for 60 minutes. Whether you get a bounce early or a bounce late, continue to grind for a full 60 minutes. It's just a focus of going them line after line, and that mentality has led to some success early on."

Detroit's 1-0 lead lasted 2:57 before Montreal tied it with a favorable bounce of the puck for an unusual goal that necessitated a video review. Gallagher ended up in the Red Wings net along with the puck and ultimately received credit for his first goal, unassisted, on a power play.

Plekanec sent a return pass towards Gallagher that was cut off in front of the net by Kyle Quincey. The Detroit defenseman's attempt to clear the puck into the right corner struck Gallagher's right skate and slid past Mrazek over the goal line before the Montreal right wing crashed feet first into the goalie.

"Obviously contact was made and that's a tough goal," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "They reviewed it so they must have been right but I thought the coach's challenge was for that kind of thing. They kind of saved a review from Montreal there. When stuff like that happens, when they kind of just slam into the goalie, there's not often there is a goal, but that should have been no goal."

The Bell Centre capacity crowd of 21,288 roared when referee Dave Jackson, who did not make a ruling on the ice, announced that a video review determined that the goal was good.

"They decided it was a goal and I've got no comment any further than that," Blashill said.

Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forwards Darren Helm returned from their injuries and made their season debuts, along with right wing Joakim Anderson, who was a healthy scratch for Detroit's first four games.

"I think all three had a good game and we're skating well, and obviously its going to be better the next one," Zetterberg said.

Referee Marc Joannette officiated his 1,000th NHL game with his hand-picked crew of Jackson and linesmen Pierre Racicot and Michel Cormier.

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