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Nyquist lifts Red Wings over Canadiens in OT
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Gustav Nyquist scored with just 27.3 seconds remaining in overtime, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in both teams' first game following the Olympic break.
Johan Franzen, returning from a concussion that sidelined him for 22 of Detroit's final 23 contests prior to the stoppage, assisted on Nyquist's game- winner as well as Todd Bertuzzi's first-period power-play goal. Jimmy Howard stopped 19-of-20 shots to help the Red Wings improve to 4-1-1 over their last six outings.
"We played a great game. We didn't give them much room," said Franzen.
The Canadiens had a three-game win streak halted, but still managed to notch a point thanks to Brian Gionta's game-tying tally with just 28.7 seconds left in regulation.
Peter Budaj, filling in for an ailing Carey Price, came up with 28 saves in the loss.
Gionta's goal, a well-placed backhander with Budaj pulled for an extra attacker, gave Montreal renewed life after a sluggish offensive performance over the first 59 minutes. The Red Wings responded, though, by also turning up the pressure with time winding down in the extra session.
Danny DeKeyser led a rush up the ice before giving the puck up to Franzen, who fired a shot that Budaj successfully kicked away. Nyquist raced untouched up the left side, however, to knock in the rebound just moments before a shootout would have taken place.
Bertuzzi, a healthy scratch for Detroit's final eight games before the hiatus, produced the lone goal of the first two periods on the Red Wings' initial power play of the night. Camped out in the slot, the veteran forward jammed a behind-the-net feed from Franzen under Budaj's right arm just over 14 minutes in.
"The break was good for me, so it was a good time to come back," Franzen said. "It gets a little [worrisome] getting over the concussion, I've never had that before. But it felt good and it's good to be back, because I miss playing hockey."
The Red Wings maintained their one-goal edge into the third period by shutting down Montreal in the second, limiting the Canadiens to a mere two shots over the course of the frame.
Montreal generated few offensive chances as well in the third until the frantic final minute. Howard made a left pad save on Gionta with 34 seconds to go, but Detroit couldn't clear the puck and it eventually came back to the Canadiens' captain, who found an opening in the top left corner to force OT.
"In the third we started to pressure their 'D' a little more and it paid off in the end," Gionta said. "In the first two periods, they were able to come through out of their zone quite easily."
Bertuzzi had gone 18 straight games without a goal since last connecting on Dec. 10 ... The game was the 3,000th on the road for the Red Wings' franchise ... Montreal forward Alex Galchenyuk played for the first time since Jan. 6, having missed the team's last 15 games prior to the break with a broken hand ... Price, out with a lower-body injury, and teammate P.K. Subban were honored prior to the contest as members of Canada's gold medal hockey team, led by Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. Quebec residents from the gold medal-winning women's squad were also recognized.
02/26 23:07:15 ET