ANAHEIM, California (Reuters) - The Montreal Canadiens overturned a three-goal deficit to beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday.
The Ducks (30-27-8) stormed to a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from Corey Perry, Lubomir Visnovsky and Scott Niedermayer, the triple salvo giving the home team a firm grip on the contest.
However, Tomas Plekanec got the Habs on the board in the second and the Canadiens scored twice in the final 1:50 of regulation through Brian Gionta and Andrei Markov, with 11 seconds left, to send the game into overtime.
After a scoreless extra period, Plekanec clinched the win with a goal in the fourth round of the shootout.
“It was huge for us. We fought hard,” Plekanec told reporters. “I think we deserved it with that third period. We played well and we pushed them hard. Hopefully we can keep it going. We’re in a playoff race.”
Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller made 40 saves but could not preserve the Ducks’ first win since the Olympic break.
“We made some mistakes with the puck late in the hockey game, and it cost us,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “Nobody feels good about what just happened.”
The win moved the Canadiens up to seventh in the Eastern Conference by one point as they try to retain a spot in the playoff positions.
Jaroslav Halak helped lead the way with 21 saves after replacing Carey Price who was pulled after allowing the goals in the first. Halak made six stops in OT and one in the shootout, where the Ducks converted just once on a shot from Ryan Getzlaf.
One night after scoring in a win against the Los Angeles Kings, Gionta stayed hot for Montreal (32-29-6) and has goals in three straight games.
The Ducks are seven points out of eighth place in the West.
Center Saku Koivu played for the first time against his former team, where he spent 13 seasons before signing with Anaheim in the offseason.
Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by John O'Brien