Game 23: Rally falls short with SO loss to Wings

Brad Stuart beats Habs goalie Carey Price, defenceman Roman Hamrlik for Detroit’s first goal.

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• POSTGAME AUDIO: Mike Cammalleri I and II | Jacques Martin | Tomas Plekanec | Ryan O’Byrne 

Apologies for the delay; dressing-room duties came first tonight

At a Glance: For a time, it seemed that early penalty trouble had dug the Canadiens an inescapable hole Saturday night. Then two third-period goals by Michael Cammalleri, his team-leading 10th and 11th of the season, lifted the Habs into overtime that morphed into a shootout. But shootout goals by Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and a miss by Cammalleri and a struck goal post by Tomas Plekanec lifted the visiting Red Wings to a 3-2 victory at the Bell Centre.

• Summary: The Canadiens fell behind 2-0 in the first period thanks/blame to their indiscipline. Georges Laraque was serving six minutes – four for the high-sticking and drawing the blood of Detroit’s Darren Helm, and another two for tripping Niklas Kronwall (a knee-on-knee hit, by the looks of it) to send the Wings defenceman to the dressing room for the night – when Brad Stuart made it 1-0.

Then with Paul Mara off for cross-checking, giving Detroit a 5-on-3 with Laraque still off, Datsyuk put the Wings up 2-0. Habs’ Travis Moen and Ryan O’Byrne promptly went off in rapid succession for roughing and slashing, giving the Wings another lengthy 5-on-3 that Montreal ultimately killed. First-period shots were a revealing 16-3 for the visitors. The Canadiens outshot Detroit 8-7 in a penalty- and heartbeat-free second period.

Cammalleri’s two goals in the third followed to make things interesting.

• What It Means: The shootout win/loss ended the Canadiens’ modest two-game winning streak and dropped their season record to 11-11-1. An overtime or shootout win would have given the Habs a share of the NHL record nine straight wins in extra time. Monday should provide more news on the health of Scott Gomez, who missed Saturday’s game with what reportedly is a groin injury that lists him as day-to-day.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens are home to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, in Pittsburgh on Thursday and back home next Saturday to Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals.

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