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Habs edge Flames in OT

by Arpon Basu /
MONTREAL – Rookie P.K. Subban felt personally responsible for the Montreal Canadiens blowing a four-goal lead against the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

So he went out and did something to rectify the situation, then let the whole world know just how happy he was.

Subban scored at 1:06 of overtime on a screaming sharp-angle wrist shot to the top shelf to allow the Canadiens to save face and beat the Calgary Flames 5-4 at the Bell Centre.

After scoring the goal, Subban did a quick spin back toward centre ice before launching himself in a long slide, wiping the ice with his glove then pumping his fist in the air as he celebrated the first game-winning goal of his NHL career.

"I was pumped," a more composed Subban said in the dressing room afterwards. "I was on for a couple of goals against, there were some bad plays, I jumped on the ice for the too many men call, I put our team in a bad position. But this is a game of highs and lows and I stuck with it. I'm sure my teammates are going to give me some slack (for the celebration) though."

Lars Eller, Michael Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn and Jeff Halpern also scored for the Canadiens (26-17-3), winners of two straight and five out of their last six games.

This was the second game in a row the Canadiens jumped out to an early lead only to make things interesting at the end. On Saturday night the Canadiens led 3-1 after one period over the New York Rangers, but ultimately held on for a 3-2 win.

That was nothing compared to this kind of drama.

"Our fans pay a lot to come and watch," Cammalleri joked. "Everybody wants to see P.K. score in overtime and sweep the ice."

The Canadiens snapped a string of 13 straight games where they scored 3 goals or fewer, going 6-6-1 over that stretch.

Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla, Ales Kotalik and former Canadien Alex Tanguay erased a 4-0 second period deficit for the Flames (20-20-6), who saw their two-game win streak come to an end, but have collected at least a point (2-0-3) in each of their last five.

And this point feels very familiar to the Flames after they came back from 5-2 down against Carolina but ultimately lost in a shootout in the first of this four-game road trip that came to an end Monday in very similar fashion.

"The other night in Carolina, we felt like we should have won that game, and tonight it was the same thing," Tanguay said. "If we just had a better start and played like we did in the third we would have got the job done."

The Flames came out of the difficult four-game swing through Carolina, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal without a regulation loss, posting a 2-0-2 record.

"You're down 4-0 halfway through the game and you battle back and play a real good second half of the game to get a point," Flames coach Brent Suter said. "When you sum it all up, six out of eight points on this trip is a pretty good trip."

Neither starting goalie made it to the end of the game.

Flames starter Miikka Kiprusoff was chased after allowing four goals on 17 shots, replaced by Henrik Karlsson at 6:34 of the second period with his team down 4-0.

But Karlsson stopped all 11 shots sent his way in regulation time to allow the Flames to get to Alex Auld, making his first start on home ice, but failing to finish it.

After stopping the first 16 shots he faced, Auld allowed four of the next eight past him and was forced to give way to Carey Price at the 2:56 mark of the third with the score tied 4-4.

Price only needed to make four saves to get his League-high 23rd win of the season, doing just enough to allow Subban to score high on the short side on the first shot on goal of overtime for the rookie’s fourth of the season and first game-winner of his career.

"I look at it like we got the win, that's the biggest thing," Auld said. "But that's obviously not how I wanted my first start at home to wind up."

The Canadiens jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, as Eller finished a set-up by his linemates Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec for the rookie's third of the season at 4:27.

Cammalleri then came out of the penalty box and took a long breakaway pass from Halpern to go in alone on Kiprusoff, beating high glove on a laser wrist shot for his 13th of the season at 11:42.

The lead quickly grew to 4-0 early in the second with Kostitsyn scoring his 12th and second in two games on a sharp-angle wrist shot at 3:14, and Halpern having his shot bounce in for his seventh at 6:34 to chase Kiprusoff.

The Flames got on the board when Bourque grabbed an Auld rebound and swatted it in for his 15th of the season at 13:26.

At the time it appeared to simply break Auld's shutout bid, but it marked the beginning of an epic comeback by the Flames that saw them score four goals on a span of eight shots in only 9:30 of game time straddling the second intermission.

Iginla tipped a weak Jay Bouwmeester wrist shot past Auld for his 19th of the season at 18:48 of the second, Kotalik beat Auld through the legs on a one-timer from the slot at 1:37 of the third, and Tanguay finished the comeback when he grabbed a rebound and deked around Auld at 2:56 of the third for his 11th of the season.

Though conventional wisdom would dictate the Flames should be happy to get anything out of a game where they dug themselves such a deep hole, that’s not how center Olli Jokinen views the situation.

"At the end of the day it's about winning, and we weren't able to do that," said Jokinen, who got two assists to give him five points in his last four games. "We came back and dictated the play to dominate the third period, so it's a tough way to lose. You can't be satisfied."
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