Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is tired of his team’s offence waiting until the third period to play desperate hockey.
Montreal’s offence woke up in the third to salvage a point but the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 2-1 overtime victory on Tuesday.
The Canadiens failed to score in the first two periods for the third consecutive game.
"We don’t want to wait until the third period or when we’re down to put the foot on the gas," said Pacioretty, who took a game-high seven shots on goal. "I think we played a great game. In the second, we only gave up a handful of shots. Defensively, we played well.
"But our offence picked up when we were desperate to get the tying goal."
Zach Werenski scored 1:31 into overtime with a wrist shot in the roof of the net, glove side on Charlie Lindgren, who was making his fifth consecutive start for Montreal.
Down 1-0 going into the third, the Canadiens (8-9-2) forced the extra frame by firing 14 shots on Sergei Bobrovsky. Montreal had 15 shots after two periods.
The Habs finally broke through when Paul Byron, playing his 300th NHL game, poked a loose rebound over Bobrovsky’s shoulder into the top corner of the net at 12:14 of the third.
"We didn’t play at a high level in the first two periods," said Byron, who now has four goals this year. "But we kept working and played a hard game. It was close all game and came down to one shot. Charlie was good for us and the other goalie did well too."
With Montreal upping the pressure in the third period, Bobrovsky was forced to make several highlight-reel saves.
Bobrovsky, without his stick, robbed Jacob De La Rose with a blocker save on a 2-on-1 five minutes into the period. Three minutes later, he made three consecutive saves on Pacioretty.
"That’s the key to winning in the NHL, your goaltender has to do it," said Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella. "A couple of saves Bob made in the third period, that’s a big reason why we’re getting points. Bob has been terrific for us. He never gives. He’s an athlete.
"The things he can do as far as going side to side is just impressive."
Josh Anderson put Columbus (11-7-1) in front 2:29 into the game with his team-leading seventh goal of the season. Montreal’s Brandon Davidson tipped Markus Nutivaara’s point shot right to Anderson, who let the puck drop to the ice before batting it past Lindgren.
The goal came on Columbus’s second shot of the game.
Byron came close to equalizing midway through the second. With the Canadiens playing shorthanded, Byron stole the puck from Seth Jones at the blue line and moved in all alone on Bobrovsky, but the Blue Jackets goalie got his pad on the shot.
An irate Byron tried to break his stick, and then his helmet, when he returned to the bench.
"I didn’t mind that at all," said coach Claude Julien of Byron’s reaction. "He was frustrated he didn’t score. He wasn’t frustrated with his game, because he’s done so well. But he cares so much. That was a good frustration on his part.
"I like that our guys are emotionally engaged. It’s not something we had earlier on in the season."
With forward Torrey Mitchell out with the flu, the Canadiens were forced to dress seven defencemen. Rookie Victor Mete played on the fourth line with De La Rose and Byron Froese.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Canadiens claimed goalie Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Panthers. Carey Price (lower body) and Al Montoya (concussion) are still sidelined with injuries.
Notes: Montreal conceded the game’s first goal for the 13th time this season. â€¦ UFC middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre dropped the ceremonial first puck in a pre-game ceremony. â€¦ Quebec-born Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois played his first NHL game at the Bell Centre.