The Montreal Canadiens were forced to go the distance on Tuesday night, but they put a stop to a five-game losing streak as Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta scored in the shootout to lead the Habs to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers at the Bell Centre.
It was the Canadiens' first win on home ice in more than 200 days, dating back to last season. Montreal entered Tuesday's action having lost five in a row, including consecutive home losses to Colorado and Ottawa, after starting the season with back-to-back overtime victories.
"We've just found ways not to win," Gomez said of the losing streak. "This is what you're supposed to feel like. It's an addictive feeling, winning."
It's one that the Canadiens haven't had for more than two weeks.
"That five-game losing stretch was a little disappointing for us," Gionta said. "We showed flashes of good stuff and kept to the game plan. Any two points is big because they have a good team there. They're 4-and-1 and rolling, so it's nice to get a win against an offensive-minded team."
Montreal scored the lone goal of the opening period, as Gionta got his fourth of the season with 2:16 remaining off a feed from Mike Cammalleri. Despite having three power plays in the first, the Thrashers mustered only six shots on goal.
Gionta's goal was the lone tally through 40 minutes despite the fact that Montreal peppered Ondrej Pavelec with 13 shots on goal in the second period. Atlanta failed to capitalize on two more power plays in the second. Pavelec finished with 34 saves, including seven in overtime.
The Thrashers finally evened the game 6:06 into the third period on Colby Armstrong's first goal of the season. Evander Kane -- the fourth selection in the 2009 Entry Draft -- got to a loose puck in the corner and sent it to Rich Peverley, who fed Armstrong for a quick wrister that beat Jaroslav Halak. With the assist, Peverley has at least a point in five of Atlanta's first six games.
The Thrashers wouldn't score again -- including in the shootout -- as Halak finished with 22 saves for the Canadiens (3-5-0). Halak denied Ilya Kovalchuk and Peverley in the breakaway round.
Pavelec, who's taken the No. 1 job while Kari Lehtonen recovers from back problems, has been superb in Atlanta's 4-1-1 start.
"(Pavelec) was great and I thought the guy at the other end was pretty good as well," Thrashers coach John Anderson said. "You don't see goaltending battles like this very often. I just wish we could have won it for (Pavelec)."
"We've just found ways not to win. This is what you're supposed to feel like. It's an addictive feeling, winning." -- Scott Gomez
Pavelec said he wasn't unhappy at leaving the Bell Centre with a point.
"Every time you step on the ice, you're looking for a win. We got one point tonight," Pavelec said. "It was up and down. They could have won and we could have as well."
Marc-Andre Bergeron made his debut for the Canadiens after arriving from AHL Hamilton, where he was on a conditioning stint. He had little impact on the game, as Montreal went 0-for-5 on the power play. The Habs are 2-for-27 with the man advantage since Andrei Markov injured his ankle on opening night.
"I was hesitant at first," Bergeron said. "Actually, I was hesitant pretty much the whole game."
-- Brian Compton, NHL.com
Material from wire services was used in this report.