MONTREAL – P.K. Subban couldn’t help himself as he dragged his right leg behind him in a gleeful glide through centre ice as he celebrated his overtime goal.
The flashy defenceman had just scored at 1:06 of the extra period to give the Montreal Canadiens a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday night in a game in which they blew a four-goal lead.
”I scored the goal, I did a celebration,” said the 21-year-old rookie who has taken some heat for being cocky this season. ”I wish I had just put my stick up, but that’s something I’ve always dreamed of—scoring the winner in overtime.
”It was a great moment, but the important thing is we got the two points.”
It didn’t bother the Flames, who not only erased a 4-0 Montreal lead but got an important point while playing their third game in four nights on the road. Calgary, trying to battle back into playoff position in the Western Conference, went 2-0-2 on a four-game road trip and have at least one point in five straight games.
”He scored the goal and he can do whatever he wants,” said Flames winger Alex Tanguay, who got the tying goal 2:56 into the third period. ”I think it’s a good thing. It creates excitement for the fans.”
Montreal improved to 26-17-3 to move into a tie with the New York Rangers for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 55 points. Calgary (20-20-6) tied Columbus for 13th in the west with 46 points.
”We need to rack up points,” added Tanguay. ”For us to make the playoffs, we need to get four out of every six points the rest of the way.
‘We could have won this game, but we made too many mistakes early on.”
It was a night of wild outbursts for both clubs as Lars Eller, Michael Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn and Jeff Halpern scored on Montreal’s first 17 shots, chasing Calgary starter Miikka Kiprusoff in favour of Henrik Karlsson at 6:34 of the second period.
Then Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla, Ales Kotalik and Tanguay scored on Alex Auld, who was replaced by Carey Price after Tanguay’s tally on his 24th shot of the night.
The teams were tied at 28 shots apiece after three periods and Subban scored on the only shot in overtime, when Scott Gomez fed him on the right side for his fourth goal of the season on an off-wing shot under the crossbar.
Subban called it a relief because he had been the culprit who jumped on early when Montreal was called for too any men on the ice just after Calgary tied the game. But the shorthanded unit killed it, going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill for the night.
”It was an interesting game,” said Montreal coach Jacques Martin. ”It’s the new NHL.
”It doesn’t matter who you play, those kinds of games happen. Last week Calgary was losing 5-2 to Carolina and they ended up losing in a shootout. We lost momentum, then we changed our goaltender and got it back. I think we showed character in coming back to win.”
The Canadiens are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. They play again Tuesday night in Buffalo, then have two more back-to-back games Friday in Ottawa and Saturday at home against Anaheim.
Auld made only his sixth start of the season and his first at the Bell Centre.
Eller scored only his third goal of the season and first since Dec. 2 as he was in the right place to take the puck on a rebound off Cammalleri’s skate and beat Kiprusoff 4:27 into the game.
Cammalleri came out of the penalty box to take Halpern’s pass and go in alone to score at 11:42, ending his 10-game goal drought.
Adam Pardy was unlucky twice early in the second. Kostitsyn broke down the right side and scored on shot off the Calgary defenceman’s stick at 3:14 and then Halpern’s shot also hit Pardy’s stick and went in at 6:34.
Bourque was at the side of the net to bang in Olli Jokinen’s rebound at 13:26 and Iginla was in front to deflect Jay Bouwmeester’s shot from the blue-line at 18:48.
Only 1:37 into the third, Max Pacioretty lost the puck off the end of his stick and Jokinen grabbed it and set up Kotalik to score from the slot. Tanguay tied it when he put in a loose puck at Auld’s doorstep at 2:56 for his first in 10 games.
Notes: The two teams will meet in the Heritage Classic on Feb. 20 at McMahon Stadium. … Prior to Monday, the only NHL team Montreal goaltender Carey Price had never faced was Calgary. . . Defenceman James Wisniewski and forward Benoit Pouliot had flu-like symptoms. Wisniewski was able to play, Pouliot sat out. . . Calgary defenceman Robyn Regehr returned after missing two games with a lower body injury. . . Tom Kostopoulos served the fourth of a six-game suspension for his hit on Detroit’s Brad Stuart.