MONTREAL (AP) — Cole Caufield scored with 43 seconds left in overtime and the Montreal Canadiens rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Thursday night.
Caufield, who also had two assists, beat Columbus goaltender Elvis Merzlikins on the glove side with a wrist shot.
Nick Suzuki had a goal and two assists and Mike Matheson had a goal and an assist for Montreal. Sean Monahan also scored and Samuel Montembeault stopped 31 shots as Montreal overcame an early 2-0 deficit.
A speech by Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis — “ a very honest conversation” — between the first and second periods spurred the comeback.
Montreal responded with a goal on the first shift of the second period and the Canadiens were on their way.
“We were stubborn in the first period. As a coach, in my opinion, you have to be careful when to use your bullets,” St. Louis said. “I liked the response.”
Caufield credited his coach’s talk for the come-from-behind effort.
“That was all pretty much Marty, he fired us up, said some things that needed to be said,” Caufield said. “I really love how we responded there with the first-shift goal, obviously that kind of got us going. I thought from there we pretty much played a full 45 (minutes) after that.
“It was for sure a bounce-forward game today.”
Emil Bemstrom scored two power-play goals and Jack Roslovic finished with a goal and two assists for Columbus. Merzlikins made 23 saves.
Blue Jackets center Adam Fantilli, the third pick in June’s draft, was held without a point after coming in with goals in the last two games.
Columbus went 2 for 4 on the power play, while Montreal was 2 for 5.
Montreal got some good fortune as the officials called a penalty on Columbus moments after a slash by Monahan broke Adam Fantilli’s stick and went unpenalized.
Matheson took advantage with a top-corner wrist shot on the power play to make it 3-2 heading into the third.
Tied at 3-all with less than a minute remaining in the third period, Canadiens veteran Brendan Gallagher took a high-sticking penalty that left Montreal short a man at the end the third period and into overtime. Columbus was unable to score, despite numerous opportunities, and the Canadiens managed to kill the penalty before Caufield netted the winner.
Although Columbus had multiple opportunities to ice the game with a power play at the end of the third, Blue Jackets coach Pascal Vincent pointed to the non-call as a pivotal moment.
“The broken stick on Fantilli changed the momentum of the game,” he said. “But we had our chances, I mean four on three, we’ve got to finish there. It was a well-played game I think by both teams, a lot of speed, lots of intensity, physical game, obviously the penalties is something that changes the momentum.”
Columbus forward Dmitri Voronkov made his NHL debut. The 23-year-old from Russia made an impact early, squaring off against Canadiens tough guy Arber Xhekaj. Voronkov later added an assist on Bemstrom’s second goal for his first NHL point.
The Blue Jackets host the New York Islanders on Saturday.