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Howard and Mantha Lift Red Wings Past Canadiens

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NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings took on the Montreal Canadiens this evening at the Bell Centre. The Habs sit at the top of the Atlantic Division, while the Red Wings occupy the basement. Jimmy Howard got the start for the Wings and Al Montoya was in net for the Habs, giving Carey Price (and possibly the Wings) a break.

First Period

The Wings got off to a good start - something which has been rare for them this season. Within minutes of the first period they were awarded a power play and a chance to get on the board early. Justin Abdelkader wasted no time in parking in front of the net and lifting one over Al Montoya!

The Wings played tight defence and held the Habs to one shot on goal for the first 8 minutes of the game though the Habs had some good chances. In fact, Montreal had 10 chances to the Wings’ 9 in the first half of the period.

Riley Sheahan came close to getting his first goal of the season on a great attempt with a backhand shot but Montoya stopped him.

Kronwall took a penalty and sent the Habs to a power play about 14 minutes into the period. The Wings were able to keep them off the scoreboard by boxing them out.

The Wings played well in the first but also lucked out keeping the Habs off the scoreboard, especially considering that the Habs had more attempts than them (22 vs 19).

Shots: 12-8 DET

Score: 1-0 DET

Second Period

The Habs came out much more physical this period and roughed up the Wings a bit. Keep in mind that the Habs deliberately added size and grit to their team at the trade deadline.

The Habs’ approach to this period was to be physical and rush the net as much as possible. Jensen was visible and valuable on several occasions, blocking some key shots by the Habs. He and Russo are playing quite well.

The Wings played a large portion of this period on their heels, trying to contain the Habs. Tatar and Nyquist had a 2 on 1 but Tatar hung on to the puck a touch too long and couldn’t find a passing lane.

By the middle of the period, Detroit had been outshot 7 to 1 and out attempted 32 to 21. To make matters worse, the Wings took a penalty (Nosek, tripping) in which Howard was nothing short of incredible.

The Wings evened things out considerably towards the second half of the period and managed to hang on despite Montreal’s best efforts.

Shots: 23-21 MTL

Score: 1-0 DET

Third Period

Much of the same to start the third period, a furious Montreal team continued to put pressure on the Wings to get the tying goal. To their credit, the Wings also had some good chances in front of Montoya.

DeKeyser took a penalty at the 9 minute mark of the period and sent Habs on another power play. The Wings did a good job of creating traffic for the Habs and taking away passing lanes. Howard made a key save on a one-timer and lost his stick in the process, causing pandemonium in front of the net. Luckily, Green was finally able to clear the puck out of danger.

Sheahan had another great chance on a feed from Mantha, but didn’t score, because...Sheahan.

With just two minutes left, Tatar made a terrible change while Montreal was entering Detroit’s zone which led to quick wrist shot by Lehkonen that made it past Howard. Tie game.

The Red Wings get a point and go to OT.

Shots: 36-30 MTL

Score: 1-1

Overtime

The Wings had two great chances to start OT, one of which sent Green into Montoya hard but rendered no call, much to the fury of Habs fans. Nielsen came close as well but Montoya squeezed the pads and kept it out. Athanasiou had an incredible chance on a wrap-around which somehow stayed out as Montoya got a toe on it.

With under a minute left, Mantha dangled past two Canadiens to send a laser behind Montoya. Give credit to DeKeyser for diving to keep the puck in the Habs’ zone, making this goal possible.

Red Wings win!!!!