The skinny: With golden boy Carey Price on the shelf with a lower-body injury, Peter Budaj turned in a strong performance and managed to salvage a point as the Canadiens dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night at the Bell Centre. Gustav Nyquist scored the winning goal with 27.3 seconds remaining in overtime.
Comeback kid: The Red Wings appeared to have a regulation win in their back pockets when Brian Gionta scored with 28.7 seconds remaining in regulation time. The Canadiens, who had mustrered only 14 shots in the first 59 minutes, pulled Budaj and put the pressure on Jimmy Howard. The result was Gionta’s tying goal on a backhander off a feed from Daniel Brière.
Welcome back: Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 14:01 of the first period. Bertuzzi established position in the slot and was set up by Johan Franzen with a pass from behind the net. Bertuzzi returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past eight games, while Franzen had missed 22 of the past 23 games with a concussion.
Special teams advantage: Detroit scored on its only power play while the Canadiens were 0-for-2 with the man advantage. The Canadiens heard boos when they failed to muster a shot on their second power play.
Creeping up: The win left the Red Wings in fifth place in the Atlantic Division but they are only five points behind the third-place Canadiens and they hold a game in hand on Montreal.
Stuck in neutral: The Canadiens went 12:31 before Brian Gionta registered their first shot in the second period. The Canadiens had a season-low two shots in the period.
Take a bow: Members of the gold-medal Canadian men’s and women’s teams were introduced before the game. The loudest cheers on the men’s side were for Carey Price, P.K. Subban and coach Mike Babcock while captain Caroline Ouellette and scoring star Marie-Philip Poulin received the loudest ovations among the women. The other women on hand were Charline Labonté, Melodie Daoust, Geneviève Lacasse, Laurianne Rougeau, Catherine Ward and assistant coach Danielle Goyette. Also on hand were Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who is part of Hockey Canada’s management team, public relations guru Dominic Saillant and equipment manager Pierre Gervais.
What’s next: The Canadiens have a quick turnaround as they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins Thursday night. The Penguins have injury problems of their own as Team USA defenceman Paul Martin (broken hand) joins Pascal Dupuis (knee), Beau Bennett (hand) and Kris Letang (stroke) on the sidelines. The Canadiens are back home to face Toronto Saturday and then embark on a four-game swing through the U.S. West.
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Canadiens’ Andrei Markov and goalie Peter Budaj team up to stop a wraparound attemp by Wings’ Joakim Andersson during first period Wednesday night at the Bell Centre. Budaj played a strong game in goal to help the Canadiens escape with one point.
Photograph by: John Mahoney, The Gazette