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Nyquist's OT goal lifts Red Wings past Canadiens

by James Murphy

MONTREAL -- Gustav Nyquist scored with 27.3 seconds left in overtime to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday in each team's first game back from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Montreal goalie Peter Budaj was able to make a save on Johan Franzen's deflection of Danny DeKeyser's wrist shot from the point, but Nyquist slammed home the rebound for his 15th goal and the Detroit win.

The Red Wings (27-20-12) hold a three-point lead for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. With the point for the overtime loss, the Canadiens (32-21-7) tied the idle Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division.

With the Red Wings holding on to a 1-0 lead, Canadiens captain Brian Gionta scored the game-tying goal with 28 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

The Red Wings carried the one-goal lead deep into the third after Todd Bertuzzi scored on the power play at 14:01 of the first period. It was Bertuzzi's seventh goal, the first in his past 18 games.

"I thought we played good and even in the final minute," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It was a tight game. I wish we shot the puck a little more. But other than that, it was two teams checking really hard, and there wasn't a lot of room out there. I just think we played well. We played with good structure.

"It's well documented that Mule (Franzen) hasn't played in a long time, Pav (Pavel Datsyuk) has been injured, and then Bert hasn't played in a while. So that line right there, as good as players as they are, hasn't got a lot of tempo in their game as of yet, but they'll get it."

Bertuzzi had been a healthy scratch for Detroit's past eight games, but he wasted no time burying Franzen's feed to the doorstep past Budaj. Daniel Alfredsson had the secondary assist on the goal, which came after a roughing penalty to P.K. Subban nullified the final 14 seconds to a Canadiens power play.

The Red Wings finished 1-for-1 on the power play, and the Canadiens were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.

Montreal's struggles weren't limited to the power play against Detroit's suffocating defense.

"It was hard to create chances. They were closing the game down," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.

Detroit outshot Montreal 30-20 overall. The Red Wings stifled the Canadiens offense in the second period, not allowing a shot on goal until 12:31.

"This is what we are," Babcock said of the grinding style his team played. "If you're looking for us to get a touchdown, you're watching the wrong team. But if you're looking for us to check, well that's what we are."

The Canadiens found out just who the Red Wings are.

"They were doing a good job of bottling us up. We just weren't putting any pressure on them," Gionta said.

If not for Budaj, who was playing for injured Carey Price, Montreal would have had a much tougher road to climb coming into the third period. The Slovakian Olympian stopped all nine shots in the second period and finished with 28 saves in his first start since Jan. 30, when he made 34 saves in a 4-1 win at the Boston Bruins.

Price was pulled from the Canadiens' morning skate after he sustained a lower-body injury.

The game Wednesday was the second of four between the two Atlantic Division foes. The Red Wings defeated the Canadiens 4-1 on Jan. 24. The two teams will play again March 27 in Detroit and then finish the season series in Montreal on April 5.

Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov, who has been the subject of trade rumors, assisted on Gionta's goal to extend his point streak to three games; he has three assists over that span.

With his game-winner, Nyquist has six goals and two assists in his past eight games.

In a pregame ceremony, the Canadiens honored local members of the Canadian women's gold-medal team, as well as members of the Canadian men's hockey team that captured a second straight gold medal Sunday with a 3-0 win against Sweden in Sochi. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock were brought out on a red carpet along with Subban, Price and Canadiens public relations director Dominick Saillant and trainer Pierre Gervais.

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