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(Wednesday, April 9th)
Final Score: Chicago 3, Montreal 2 (OT)
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Peter Budaj misplayed a harmless Patrick Sharp shot into game winner at 43 seconds of overtime, giving the Chicago Blackhawks a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at United Center.
Marian Hossa tied the game inside the final minute with the extra attacker, then Sharp won it when his contested, rolling shot from between the circles rolled up Budaj's stick. Instead of trapping it, the Habs' netminder tried to shake it away, and the puck was propelled backwards and over the line.
"I think we were due. It was the first time all season we managed to get one in overtime," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, about his club failing to score in 22 overtime periods prior to Wednesday. "To take this long to get it is certainly a relief and a huge two points."
Jeremy Morin also tallied and Corey Crawford came up with 28 saves for the Blackhawks, who moved two points back of idle Colorado for second place in the Central Division.
Dale Weise and Francis Bouillon scored for the Canadiens, while Budaj took the loss despite 25 stops. Montreal moved three points up on idle Tampa Bay for second in the Atlantic, but the two clubs are assured a first-round matchup.
"We were in a position to get two points, but I really liked the way we played," Montreal head coach Michel Therrien said. "On the last two goals, it was some bad coverage in front of the net. I'm sure on the last goal, the winning goal, [Budaj] certainly would like to see that shot again, but those things happen. This is not an easy place to play, but our effort was there again."
The first 40 minutes passed without a goal. Crawford stopped 23 shots and Budaj was equal to 17.
Montreal snapped the scoreless deadlock as Weise was open on the right side to tap in a bouncing puck off a shot from Josh Gorges at 7:31 of the third period.
Chicago fought back to tie with 9:26 left in regulation on Morin's quick shot from the right circle.
Bouillon's point drive, from a left-circle faceoff win by David Desharnais, eluded Crawford only 22 seconds later and the Habs led 2-1.
Chicago went with an extra skater as the clock ticked down to a minute left, and Hossa was inside the crease when he redirected a centering feed by Sharp with 47.7 seconds to play.
"I like that responsibility he's shown," Quenneville said of Sharp, who has been leaned on in the absence of captain Jonathan Toews and fellow forward Patrick Kane. "I thought in a game like this, he took charge at the end. I think he's stepped up to the plate here and responded in the right fashion."
Crawford then made a diving stop to his right on a hard shot from Max Pacioretty ticketed for the near post to keep the tie intact.
The Blackhawks improved to 3-0-2 in the last five meetings with the Canadiens since October of 2009 ... Chicago begins a season-ending two-game road trip at Washington on Friday, while Montreal hosts the Islanders on Thursday ... Habs forward Alex Galchenyuk did not return after the first intermission, diagnosed with a lower-body injury ... Canadiens defenseman Ryan White suffered a hand injury and did not return following the second intermission.
04/10 00:10:57 ET
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