COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Centers Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller scored goals in regulation, and center David Desharnais had the only shootout goal for either club, as the Montreal Canadiens overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in Nationwide Arena on Friday.
It was a much-needed win for the Canadiens, who were just 1-3-2 in their last six games.
Goaltender Peter Budaj won a battle of back-ups, stopping 23 of 25 shots and stoning Columbus center Mark Letestu, center Artem Anisimov and center Ryan Johansen in the shootout.
It continued the Blue Jackets' misery. They're stuck in a 1-5-3 nosedive that has landed them in last place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Blue Jackets got goals from left winger R.J. Umberger and Anisimov in the first period, but couldn't hold the lead. Goaltender Curtis McElhinney stopped 38 of 40 shots in regulation, then stopped Galchenyuk in the first round of the shootout.
But Desharnais beat McElhinney with a snap wrist shot through his stick side. When Budaj denied Anisimov in the second round, the Canadiens didn't need a third shooter.
Before Friday, the only win for either club during the month of November came against the New York Islanders.
The Blue Jackets scored twice in the span of 99 seconds in the first period to build a 2-0 lead.
Umberger, in a two-year scoring funk, sent a low, skidding shot on net from the left circle, the puck narrowly missing the right skate of Blue Jackets rookie center Michael Chaput before it beat Budaj through his five-hole.
The next goal, by Anisimov, was the product of a carnival of errors and pratfalls.
Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin tried to put a slap shot on net, but fell face-first when his stick snapped as he leaned on it. The puck slid to Anisimov, who tried to pitch the puck into the corner, only to partially whiff on it, sending a lob-shot on net.
At this same time, Blue Jackets right wing Jared Boll was skating in front of the net when he was blasted by Canadiens forward Brandon Prust, sending Boll tumbling into the back of Budaj.
As those two scrambled, the puck came skipping by innocently enough and went into the net, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead at 17:12 of the first.
The Canadiens' goals were more standard.
Galchenyuk pounced on a neutral zone turnover and turned it into a mini-breakaway on McElhinney, beating him over his right pad to make it 2-1 with only 7.6 seconds left in the first.
Montreal, with the second-best power play in the NHL, made it 2-2 with a power-play goal at 7:34 of the second. Eller gathered the puck low in the zone, and banked it in off McElhinney.
Eller has seven goals in 16 games. His career high is 16 goals in 2011-12.
NOTES: Blue Jackets RW Marian Gaborik will miss four to six weeks after suffering a sprained knee, the club announced. Gaborik suffered the sprain on the last shift of regulation in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss in Boston and did not play in the extra period. Gaborik entered play tied for the club lead in goals (five), but had gone eight games without a scoring, his longest drought as a member of the Blue Jackets. ... Montreal RW Brandon Prust returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a shoulder injury. ... Blue Jackets D Dalton Prout missed the last two games after suffering back spasms at the end of a morning skate on Thursday. ... By starting G Peter Budaj, the Canadiens rested No. 1 G Carey Price for Saturday's game vs. the New York Rangers.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Montreal Canadiens
- Peter Budaj
- Artem Anisimov