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Nugent-Hopkins fuels Oilers comeback vs. Canadiens

by Sean Farrell

MONTREAL -- Oscar Klefbom played like a goalie late in the third period before setting up Anton Lander’s winning goal in overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.

"It was a fun game to play," said Klefbom, who blocked a shot by Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec at an empty net.

Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth was pulled for an extra attacker when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the game with 24.9 seconds remaining in the third to tie the game 3-3.

Lander scored his third goal on a pass from Klefbom for the winner.

"There's no better feeling than to do a comeback and then win in overtime, so it was a great team win," Lander said.

Klefbom blocked Plekanec's shot with 1:08 left in the third, seven seconds after Plekanec came out of the penalty box.

"I got a little panicked there," Klefbom said. "If he would have shot it right away I don't think I would have had time to save it, but it turned out good and I'm really glad [Nugent-Hopkins] picked up the puck and scored a goal."

Fasth made 23 saves for Edmonton (16-31-9), which is in last place in the Western Conference with 41 points.

Max Pacioretty scored his team-leading 25th goal to give the Canadiens a 3-2 lead at 9:17 of the third after the Oilers tied it 2-2 in the second period on goals by Matt Hendricks and Nugent-Hopkins.

"We didn't even deserve a point," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We were lucky to come out of it with one point."

Christian Thomas scored his first NHL goal and Alex Galchenyuk scored his 16th goal on his 21st birthday for the Canadiens (35-15-4), who ended a three-game winning streak.

Montreal backup goalie Dustin Tokarski made 34 saves in his 11th start. Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban had two assists.

"Everything about our game disappointed me, our play with the puck, our play without the puck, a very bad game on our part," said Therrien, who questioned his team's maturity and credited Tokarski for the point in the standings.

Edmonton scored twice in the second to tie the game for the first time.

Hendricks tipped Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry's shot from the right point past Tokarski for his seventh goal at 4:04 of the second to make it 2-1.

Nugent-Hopkins tied the game 2-2 with his 13th goal at 14:09. It was his first goal in nine games, and second in 19.

Tokarski stuck out his right pad to make a spectacular save on Luke Gazdic's shot off a rebound at 7:04 after he stopped Iiro Pakarinen's initial shot.

"He made some huge saves and it's a bad feeling knowing that we gave one too many chances and there's way too many times where he had to come up big for us and he played great and we've got to find a way to play better in front of him," Pacioretty said.

Edmonton left wing Ryan Hamilton hit the right post at 12:03 after receiving Nail Yakupov's pass on a 2-on-1.

"I like the fact that we stuck with it, even when we got down late in the game," Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson said. "We found a way to get it to overtime and obviously we're happy with the result."

Thomas gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 16:25 of the first period. The son of longtime NHL forward Steve Thomas snapped a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle off the top of Fasth's left shoulder and into the top right corner for his first point in 15 games in the League and 12th this season.

"I like to consider myself a shooter and that's the way I like to score my goals, and hopefully I'll get some more opportunities to shoot the puck," Thomas said.

He played two games with Montreal in 2013-14 after making his debut with the New York Rangers against the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Feb. 23, 2013.

Steve Thomas scored 421 goals and 933 points during a 20-year career with six NHL teams from 1984-85 to 2003-04.

"I think he was a shooter too," Thomas said. "In junior he always was on me about how he scored 50 or 51, so I passed him in junior, but it will be difficult to pass him here."

Jacob de la Rose assisted on the goal for his first point in his fifth game in the League.

Galchenyuk made it 2-0 at 1:06 of the second period when he scored on a one-timer off a pass from Subban.

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