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Habs blow big lead, recover to down Wings
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens recovered from blowing a three-goal third-period lead to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 5-3, at Bell Centre.
Captain Brian Gionta, playing in his 300th game with the Canadiens, scored two goals, including the go-ahead tally with 6:47 remaining.
Montreal, which has won seven of its last eight games, strengthened its grip on home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Habs are four points clear of Tampa Bay for second place in the Atlantic Division after the Lightning lost to Dallas on Saturday.
The Red Wings' winning streak was snapped at four games, but they still have a three-point lead over Columbus for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit's power play keyed the rally.
Pavel Datsyuk scored on a man advantage at 5:11, collecting a carom off the end boards and beating Montreal goalie Carey Price.
Luke Glendening scored his first NHL goal 36 seconds later. Justin Abdelkader sent a pass around sliding Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban and Glendening, who signed a three-year contract extension before the game, scored on a backhander.
A Niklas Kronwall blast from the point on another Detroit power play tied the game at 10:44.
Despite squandering the sizeable lead, Gionta liked how his team reacted.
"We let them get back in the game, but we showed a lot of poise sticking with it and not being rattled by their three goals," he said.
Gionta put the Canadiens back on top with shot from the left circle that deflected in off a Detroit player.
Less than 2 1/2 minutes later, Tomas Plekanec fired a shot that went in off teammate Alex Galchenyuk, who was in the crease. A video review upheld the goal that was scored with 4:20 to play.
"The puck went in our net way too often. Obviously, you can't give up five on the road and expect to win," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.
Michael Bournival opened the scoring after a perfectly timed line change. The Montreal forward came off the bench and immediately took the puck away from a Detroit player in the neutral zone, triggering a counter rush.
Ryan White handled a pass from Bournival and got a shot on net while driving hard to the crease. Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson made a left pad save, but Bournival potted the rebound at 14:16 of the first period.
The Canadiens extended their lead in the second period.
Max Pacioretty scored his 39th goal of the season, outracing a Detroit player to a loose puck and beating Gustavsson on a breakaway at 8:52.
Montreal went up 3-0 when a Jarred Tinordi shot sailed wide of the net and was tipped out front to Gionta, who one-timed the puck past Gustavsson at 13:35.
Price made 34 saves ... Gustavsson stopped 21-of-26 shots ... Tinordi and Lars Eller each had two assists for Montreal.
04/05 23:12:02 ET
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