St. Louis Blues Jaden Schwartz and Montreal Canadiens Brian Flynn battle for possession of the puck in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 6, 2016. St. Louis defeated Montreal 3-2 in overtime. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues trailed the Montreal Canadiens, the best team in the NHL so far this season, 2-0 going into the third period Tuesday night but still had confidence that the game was not over.
"We just needed to regroup," left winger Jaden Schwartz said. "The first two periods didn't go our way but we knew we had a chance."
A goal by center Paul Stastny 7:40 into the final period brought the Blues within 2-1, and Stastny then set up Schwartz for the tying goal at 10:31. The game went to overtime, where Schwartz scored his second goal of the night 3:38 into the extra session to complete the Blues' comeback win.
"They might have had a couple of tired guys out and (Alexander) Steen took off and I went with him," Schwartz said. "I think the D men might have been cheating his way a little bit, and he made a great pass over a couple of sticks and it landed on my tape, and I kind of had a step on a defenseman and I just tried to get it up as quick as I could."
The goal was the 10th of the season for Schwartz and improved the Blues' record to 10-0-3 in their last 13 home games. Four of their last five games have been decided in overtime or in a shootout.
"Not every game is going to go the way you want it to," Schwartz said. "Sometimes you get off to a good start. Today we didn't get off to a good start, but we stuck with it and got a big comeback win."
Part of the reason for the Blues' slow start was their inability to take advantage of three power-play opportunities in the first period. They had 13 shots on goal against Montreal's backup goalie, Al Montoya, but could not get a shot past him.
A fluke goal put the Canadiens in front at 10:06 of the opening period. Goalie Jake Allen could not handle the rebound of a shot by left winger Paul Byron, and Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson kicked the puck past Allen and into the net.
The Canadiens increased the lead to 2-0 at 17:42 of the second period. Byron and center Tomas Plekanec had a 2-on-1 break and Byron was able to feed a pass past defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to Plekanec, who shot past Allen.
Plekanec's goal ended a personal drought of 13 games and was only his second of the season.
The Canadiens could not maintain the lead, though, in the closing game of a five-game trip. Coach Michel Therrien preferred to look at the positives, however.
"You know what? We've got to be satisfied," Therrien said. "Disappointed losing the game, obviously, but we played against a really good hockey team and you look at the big picture. On that road trip, we met really good hockey teams and they were all close games, and I like the way our team played."
Left winger Max Pacioretty had the same attitude about the game and the result.
"That's a good team," he said. "On the road, it would have been nice to get two (points), but we battled hard. They got a little bit of life there, but I thought we battled to the final."
The win was the eighth in a row for Allen and improved his home record to 10-0-2 this season. He hopes the late rally gives the Blues some momentum as they begin a four-game trip; they are only 3-5-1 on the road this season.
"I think we just know that unless it's a five- or six-goal deficit, if it's a couple goals, we're confident in our ability to go out there and score two goals," Allen said. "You have to take it one shift at a time, not force anything, use the whole 20 minutes. ... We were patient. We had our chances and we played the way we wanted to play in the third -- and got it done.
"I think our first two periods were a little sloppy. We came back in the third. That's a good win for us, especially against the No. 1 team in the league. It's good momentum to go on this road trip."
NOTES: The Canadiens were without their leading scorer, C Alex Galchenyuk, who suffered a lower-body injury in their game Sunday in Los Angeles. He is scheduled to be re-evaluated by team doctors Wednesday in Montreal. Galchenyuk had nine goals and 14 assists in the first 25 games of the season. He had played in 130 consecutive games. ... The Blues activated D Joel Edmundson from injured reserve but lost D Robert Bortuzzo for at least six weeks because of a lower-body injury sustained Saturday night. ... C Jori Lehtera returned to the Blues' lineup after being a healthy scratch Saturday. ... The Blues open a four-game trip Thursday night against the Islanders, while the Canadiens return home to play New Jersey the same night.