MONTREAL — Detroit Red Wings netminder Ville Husso saved the best for last on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
He robbed Montreal forward Mike Hoffman in the dying seconds of regulation with a glove save and stoned Rem Pitlick on a breakaway in overtime. Robby Fabbri scored on the ensuing rush to give Detroit a 4-3 victory.
"We owed him something, I think," Detroit defenceman Moritz Seider, who had three assists, said about Husso. “We never want to give up three goals against so it's definitely on us to get the W and we did.”
Husso didn't have a favourite from his 20 saves on the night.
“It’s a 3-3 game and it's just about trying to keep the focus for the next shot and go from there,” he said of his late-game approach.
Michael Rasmussen, Jonatan Berggren and Oskar Sundqvist also scored for Detroit (21-18-8). Playing in his 550th game, Dylan Larkin had one assist.
“That was a goalie win,” said Detroit coach Derek Lalonde. “I'd have to look back on all three goals, I don't think he loved all three of those goals but it was us as a team.
“A ton of offence we’re giving up, easy offence. And then obviously, the end of the (third) period save and then the overtime save were game-savers.”
Montreal’s supporting cast received praise from Lalonde. Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored two goals and had an assist for the Canadiens (20-25-4).
Michael Pezzetta added a goal and one assist while Alex Belzile had two assists.
“I knew nothing about their fourth line and this is an example of hockey,” Lalonde said. If you work and you compete, you can be a really good hockey player. That was the best line on the ice for a lot of the night.”
Harvey-Pinard was called up from the AHL on Jan. 17.
“I don't think they had a bad shift so obviously when you bring that, as a line, it’s tough not to send them out,” said Montreal coach Martin St. Louis. “We missed (Christian Dvorak) for a little and (Kirby) Dach fought so we had nine forwards for about five (or) six minutes.
"But they were really good and a big reason why we were in the game.”
It was Harvey-Pinard's first career multi-point game.
“When I was young, I dreamed of scoring goals at the Bell Centre," he said. "So right now hearing my name, it's special for me and I have to enjoy it and keep going.”
Returning from injury, Jake Allen made 38 saves in his first game since Jan. 7.
Detroit opened the scoring at 3:54 of the first period when Rasmussen used Chris Wideman as a screen to beat Allen with a wrist shot.
The Habs responded one minute later when Belzile pressured Pius Suter off the puck and Pezzetta jumped on it to net his third goal of the season.
The Red Wings regained their lead on the power play in the second period when Berggren hopped on a loose puck and scored the equalizer.
With Montreal on the penalty kill, Mike Matheson’s stick hit Detroit's Lucas Raymond in the face. There was no call on the play and the Swede retreated to the bench with a bloodied face.
Montreal levelled the game while short-handed seconds later. On a two-on-one rush, Dach sent a saucer pass to Harvey-Pinard, who beat Husso.
Referee Francis Charron skated over to the Wings’ bench and explained the non-call, which Lalonde and his side appreciated.
“I think there's some grey area in the high-stick but the ref came over and explained it perfectly,” Lalonde said. “He’s got a piece of the puck on a backhand, moved it forward and it was a follow-through so it's probably the right non-call."
Detroit took its third lead of the night at 13:30 of the second period after Sundqvist redirected Dominik Kubalik’s shot from the point.
Harvey-Pinard added his second goal by taking a centring pass from Pezzetta before beating Husso with a high backhand shot to make it 3-3.
Rasmussen was called for high-sticking with 1:04 remaining in the final period. Montreal attacked on a three-on-two rush but Husso robbed Hoffman to force overtime.
On the winner, Rasmussen made a nice pass through the crease to Fabbri, who scored his fourth goal of the season.
Canadiens defenceman Joel Edmundson left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.
With his assist on Detroit’s third goal, Kubalik banked his 150th career point. Over his four-year career with the Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, the 27-year-old totalled 76 goals and 74 assists in 249 games.
The Canadiens head to Ottawa to take on the Senators on Saturday. The Red Wings visit the New York Islanders on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.
Tristan D'Amours, The Canadian Press