The Montreal Canadiens and the Chicago Blackhawks, two of the Original Six NHL clubs, faced each other at Montreal's Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
The hosts were looking to improve on a weak home record, as only a handful of NHL were worse in their home buildings during the first half of the season.
Montreal opened the scoring on Saku Koivu’s eighth goal of the season, but the equalizer came only 1:24 later, when Jack Skille netted the first NHL goal of his career.
Before the end of the first frame, defensemen Patrice Brisebois gave the lead back to Montreal with his second goal of the season, on a power play.
Two minutes into the second period, the Hawks struck twice within a 17-second span to take a 3-2 lead. The goals came from Robert Lang and Kris Vertseeg.
To their credit, the Habs rallied, and defensemen Andrei Markov tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period with his 11th goal of the season.
Neither team was able to add to the score again until the overtime period.
At 3:18 into the overtime, Maxim Lapierre entered the Chicago defensive zone while Guillaume Latendresse rushed towards the net untouched. A brilliant pass from Lapierre helped Latendresse notch his 12th goal of the season to seal the game for the Habs the Habs.
Final score: Montreal Canadiens 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Notes: Carey Price and Kyle Chipchura sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs
Earlier Tuesday, Canadiens GM Bob Gainey sent goaltender Carey Price and forward Kyle Chipchura to the club’s AHL farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The return of Cristobal Huet surely factored in the decision. The team cannot afford to shelve Price for a long period of time.
The move will allow the young 20-year-old goaltender to get starts under his belt instead of being forced to watch the action from the bench. Price has kept a 9-7 record with the Canadiens this season.
To fill the available spots, goaltender Jaroslav Halak and forward Corey Locke were called up to the NHL club. Maybe Gainey's intention is to show off Halak around the league in order to increase his market value.
The goaltender asked for a trade a few months ago, and showed some consistency in his short stint with the Canadiens late last season.
(Picture: Guillaume Latendresse, Canadian Press)