The Carolina Hurricanes wrapped up a disappointing week on Saturday in Montreal with a third consecutive defeat, losing to the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime. The Canadiens jumped out on top early and almost never looked back, scoring just 2:40 into the contest on a Phillip Danault tip-in, only to have the Canes fight back in the second half of the contest to ultimately force the extra period on the strength of a Justin Williams marker with just over a minute remaining. The Habs earned the two points despite blowing the early 3-0 advantage and keep their outside chances of a playoff spot alive.
The Canes again found themselves behind early on the Danault goal, and while Carolina was able to put together a reasonable first period, they were not able to erase the deficit. The Canes missed an early opportunity to make the rarely-used Charlie Lindgren uncomfortable in net, failing on a first period power play chance.
A quicker start to the second period would have been the obvious elixir for the Canes. That prescription was not met, however, as the Habs again jumped all over the Canes, scoring twice more in just over the first four minutes. Max Domi picked off a rebound following a soft, low shot towards Canes goalie Anton Forsberg. Just 17 seconds later, another hard rebound off Forsberg founds its way to Brendan Gallagher, who rifled a slapper past Forsberg to the top-left corner to vault the Habs into a 3-0 advantage, resulting in Forsberg being replaced by Alex Nedeljkovic.
Once Nedeljkovic entered their game, the Canes were able to steady themselves a bit. Haydn Fleury finally got the Canes on the scoreboard with a wrister that slipped past a Jordan Staal screen close to eight minutes into the period.
Trailing 3-1 headed into the third, the Canes got exactly what they needed with an early tally to cut the Habs lead to one. Joel Edmundson slipped a another wrister from the point past Lindgren, this time with an Andrei Svechnikov high-screen.
With the deficit now reduced again to one, the Canes again began their push for the equalizer. Svechnikov had a hard-charging scoring chance turned away and was controversially charged with goalie interference as he passed the crease, heading to the box. The Canes survived the penalty and were then given a man advantage of their own following a Danault trip. Despite some solid pressure, the Canes came away empty as the game ticked under the six minute mark with the Habs clinging to their one goal lead.
With the Canes continuing to push the ball up the hill for the entire night, Justin Williams stepped forward as he has done at many times in his storied career, tipping home a point shot with just over a minute remaining and a yawning cage at the other end of the ice. With a new lease on life, the Canes nearly beat the buzzer at the end of regulation as Svechnikov found his way in front of Lindgren, only to be denied at the horn. In forcing OT, the Canes ensured that they would not be completely blank in the standings for the entire week, but they entered the overtime period hungry to take the additional point and complete a rousing three-goal comeback.
As the OT period began, the Canes were able to corral possession, only to throw the puck away in the offensive zone. When Tomas Tatar stoke the puck from Teuvo Teravainen and connected on a stretch pass to a streaking Jeff Petry, the Canes defense and Nedeljkovic had no answer as Petry ended the contest just 52 seconds into the extra period. Despite the disappointment, the one point earned by the valiant comeback was well-earned, and should serve to underscore the need for better starts for the Canes.
Tatar had a great night with three points (all assists), while the Canes were led offensively by Joel Edmundson, who had a goal and assist on the evening. Nedeljkovic stopped the first 18 shots he faced in the relief effort. The Canes will take some time back in Raleigh before hitting the ice again next Thursday in Philadelphia.