MONTREAL (AP) — David Desharnais scored in regulation and in a shootout as the Montreal Canadiens pulled out a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild, despite blowing a three-goal lead in the third period Thursday night.
The Wild trailed 4-1 going into the final four minutes of regulation and scored three times. Matt Kassian got his second of the game, and Dany Heatley scored before Devin Setoguchi tied it with the Wild playing with six attackers with 9 seconds to play.
Boos poured down from the seats for a team that has blown leads repeatedly this season. But Desharnais got the only shootout goal and Setoguchi lost the puck, then fell on the Wild’s last attempt to give Montreal the win, ending a season-high five-game losing streak.
P.K. Subban, Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty scored as Montreal’s 29th-ranked power play got three for the first time this season.
Desharnais, who had three points, added a goal with both teams a man short.
Kassian scored his first two NHL goals for Minnesota, 3-7-3 in its last 13 games.
Montreal played the Wild for the first time since an 8-1 win in Minnesota last season sparked by Subban’s hat trick.
A sellout of 21,273 was announced, but there were hundreds of empty seats on a snowy night for a Montreal squad that started the day in last place in the Eastern Conference.
It was an eventful game from the start as Ryan White and Stephane Veilleux squared off for a fight only 10 seconds in.
A couple of minor penalties later, Subban scored on a two-man advantage with a point blast at 2:33.
Only 19 seconds later, Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom seemed to pull something in a leg or groin and left the game in favor of Josh Harding, who was beaten at 4:28 on Eller’s first power-play goal as a Canadien. There was no immediate word on Backstrom’s condition.
Minnesota got one back as Alexei Emelin was felled by an uncalled cross-check that left Kassian open to poke in Darroll Powe’s pass. It was Kassian’s first goal in 21 career NHL games.
White got another fighting major and a misconduct later in the period for throwing punches at Veilleux, who had slashed goalie Carey Price.
Pacioretty, on his off wing to the right of Harding, put in his 26th of the season midway in the second period.
Desharnais tapped in a rebound of Pacioretty’s short in the third period for his third goal in as many games.
Kassian, back in the lineup after sitting out two games, skated to the net and banged in his own rebound with a backhander with 3:53 left.
Coach Randy Cunneyworth’s starting lineup included Blake Geoffrion, grandson of Habs great Bernard (Boom Boom) Geoffrion and great-grandson of Howie Morenz. He played his first home game as a Canadien since he was acquired from Nashville two weeks ago.
Canadiens winger Brad Staubitz, claimed off waivers Monday, played against his former team.
Notes: Linesman Pierre Champoux was honored for working his 1,500th career game. His family joined him at center ice as he received a crystal trophy in a pregame ceremony. . . Montreal forward Aaron Palushaj, cut by a high-stick, left the game in the first period. . . Montreal scratched defenseman Rafael Diaz. Erik Christensen didn’t play for the Wild.
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