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In the Habs Room: It was an ugly win, but Montreal will take it

In the Habs  Room: It was an ugly win, but Montreal will take it
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Tatar had the puck knocked off his stick in the neutral zone and the Blue Jackets took advantage of the turnover to go ahead on a goal by Zach Werenski.

But Tatar got a shot at redemption when he was on the ice after the Canadiens pulled goalie Carey Price for the extra attacker and he scored the tying goal with 39.7 seconds to play. The Canadiens went on to win the game on a shootout goal by Jonathan Drouin.

“We did something we worked on for the power play and (Nick Suzuki) made a good play and I was in position to shoot, Tatar said. The pass was an example of Suzuki’s growing maturity as he found a seam in the Columbus defence.

“He’s a skilled player and we made eye contact and I just got ready for the shot,” Tatar said. “Obviously, it was a beautiful play. I was trying to hide a little bit and I was trying to find my spot. He was trying to be patient and it was a beautiful play.”

Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki celebrates with goaltender Carey Price and Max Domi after Tuesday night’s win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bell Centre. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

“I did a pretty good job off the faceoff,” Suzuki said.” I didn’t have a lot. … I was hanging onto the puck a lot. I just went in tight to Phil (Danault) and he bumped it back and then Tuna did a great job of finding that seam right across the ice and put it in the net.”

The last two minutes of regulation and the overtime provided all the excitement this game had to offer. For most of the game, Columbus played the perfect road game, seldom allowing a second shot and jamming the neutral zone.

“They have a good team and they played really well,” Tatar said. “It was a battle out there, but at the end of the second period, we started pushing. The first goal (by Brendan Gallagher) was huge and we felt we could get two points in this game.”

“It was a good thing we had Carey Price in there,” Gallagher said. “There are games like this when it isn’t our best. It wasn’t terrible, but there are nights when you get two points and those are big points at the end of the year.”

Canadiens centre Ryan Poehling checks Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov (Tuesday night. After the game, Poehling was sent down to the AHL’s Laval Rocket. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

Claude Julien was relieved to escape with the win.

“You come back after the second period you’re still down 1-0 and I said to the guys: You know, you got to stay focused here,” Julien said. “Not every game is going to be easy or we’re going to get a goal or two-goal lead. Sometimes you got to scratch and claw to get those kind of wins.

‘I said give (Columbus) credit,” Julien added. “I even told the guys after two periods: Give them the credit. They’re skating well, they’re not giving us much space, they’re on top of us. They’re playing a really good road game. So I said in those cases we got to find ways to win those kind of games. We got to be focused, we got to get better in certain areas and part of it was we had to win more battles than not. Give our penalty-kill a lot of credit, especially in the overtime. They did a great job at 4-on-3 and allowed us to get into a shootout.”

After the game, the Canadiens announced that rookie Ryan Poehling has been reassigned to Laval, clearing the way for Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s return from a groin injury.
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