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Hurricanes edge Canadiens in overtime after goaltending duel

Hurricanes edge Canadiens in overtime after goaltending duel
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Trevor Van Riemsdyk scored at 14:22 of the third period to tie what was an old-fashioned goaltending duel between Carey Price and the Hurricanes’ Curtis McElhinney.

The Canadiens took the early lead on a first-period goal by Paul Byron, but they let the Hurricanes hang around long enough to tie the game despite Price’s best efforts. There was quantity in the first period when Price made 21 saves and quality in the final frame when he made a stop on a breakaway by Carolina’s leading scorer, Sebastian Aho. He stopped Aho a second time midway through the period when the Finn tried to bury a rebound of a shot by Calvin DeHan. Moments later, Teuvo Teravainen had a breakaway but Price forced him to cut outside and he hit the side of the net.

The overtime loss left the Canadiens three points behind Carolina in the battle for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, but the overtime point gave them a four-point edge over Columbus, which played a late game in Vancouver.

Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi and Tomas Tatar each had a three-point night Saturday as .

Neither goaltender had trouble getting involved in the game because both teams came out firing shots. The Hurricanes had 10 shots on goal before the game was seven minutes old and finished the first period with a 21-12 edge. The Canadiens helped Price by keeping many of the shots to the outside and the Hurricanes’ defencemen accounted for 11 of those shots. Brock McGinn had the Hurricanes’  best chance when he had an open net but he hesitated and then fired wide.

GALLERY:

Montreal had chances early in the period but McElhinney made a glove save on Phillip Danault in the first minute and he threw out his leg to make a pad save on Domi. The Canadiens had a seven-minute stretch without a shot in the middle of the period but Paul Byron scored his 15th goal of the season at 14:58 to open the scoring.

Credit a strong forechecking effort by Nate Thompson to set the scoring play in motion. He knocked Teravainen off the puck in the Hurricanes’ zone and Gallagher set up Byron in front.

The Canadiens were unable to add a goal in the second period but they couldn’t be accused of sitting on the lead. They outshot Carolina 9-0 over the first 14:20 of the period and forced McElhinney to make some big saves. He stopped rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi on a breakaway and received sone help from defenceman Jacob Slavin later in the period. McElhinney was caught out of position and Tatar had a shot at the empty net but Slavin knocked the puck away as it was headed to the far post.

The game attracted 14,437 fans, which was a slight increase over the average attendance of 14,125. Florida and the New York Islanders are the only teams with lower turnouts.

Speaking of Florida, the Panthers are at the Bell Centre Tuesday (7:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio) as the Canadiens resume their playoff drive. The Canadiens have defeated Florida in two of their three previous games this season.

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