Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov scores twice in 2-1 win against Blackhawks
Published Saturday, January 11, 2014 8:19PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 12, 2014 2:24PM EST
Andrei Markov scored twice to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night.
Tomas Plekanec set the tone early in the overtime period, with two good chances on Hawks goalie and Chateauguay native Corey Crawford.
But it was a takeaway by Max Pacioretty, who then dished the puck to Markov that led to the eventual game-winning goal.
“I think we have to continue the same way, said Markov.
“If you’re going to play hard, every game like tonight, success (is) going to be on your side.”
Chicago had tied up the game at the 9:22 mark of the third period after a series of tic-tac-toe passes landed the puck on Marian Hossa’s stick, who buried it past Carey Price for his 16th goal of the season.
In his first game back from injury, George Parros served as the perfect screen for Markov’s booming wrist shot, which got by Crawford and put Habs up 1-0 on the defending Stanley Cup champions in the second period.
Parros logged just 3:33 in ice time during the game, his first since Dec. 16 when he suffered his second concussion of the season during a fight with Eric Boulton of the New York Islanders.
“It was a very interesting game to come back on, but obviously these games are fun to play,” said Parros after the game.
CTV Montreal’s Brian Wilde called the game the Habs’ best of the year, an assertion RDS’s Francois Gagnon agreed with.
And though both also agreed many Habs had their best showings of the year, it was Plekanec’s effort they felt most deserved praise.
The forward had 11 shots on goal in the game, his highest single-game shot total this season.
“Not the flashiest player, but (Plekanec) played against Jonathan Toews tonight, he was able to deal with him defensively and he had scoring chances,” said Gagnon.
Coach Michel Therrien said Plekanec and his linemates Brian Gionta and Travis Moen rose to the challenge of playing against Toews and his line.
“They knew if we wanted to have a chance to win, (Plekanec, Gionta and Moen) had to play probably their best game. If they had a fair game, we were going to be in trouble, and they played really, really well, he said.
“They created a lot of scoring chances as well. They played both sides of the ice, they played the right way, and I was really pleased to see the way those three guys played together.”
The Habs finished with 38 shots on the Hawks’ goal, compared with Chicago’s 20 shots on Price.
With about two minutes left in the second period, defenceman P.K. Subban was called for delay of game after he put the puck over the glass and out of play.
On the ensuing penalty kill, Plekanec had a quality short-handed chance, but it was Lars Eller who was robbed after Crawford somehow kept the puck out of the net while sprawled across the ice, having just made a save off Brandon Prust.
At the end of the second, the Habs led the Blackhawks 21-16 in shots and 17-7 in hits.
Despite having back-to-back power plays in the first, the Habs were unable to solve the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Injured in a game against the Florida Panthers Dec. 8, Crawford is still searching for his first post-injury win.
Brendan Gallagher and Kris Versteeg dropped the gloves late in the first, with Gallagher landing a few punches on Versteeg before the fight was broken up.
Both teams are coming off losses. Saturday’s game was the first matchup between the two Original Six teams in Montreal since 2011.
That game also resulted in an overtime win for the Habs, with Subban acting as the OT hero.
Next up for the Habs will be a date with the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.