Gallagher scores late winner after turnover, Canadiens edge Blues

Brendan Gallagher scored with less than 10 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and get the Canadiens the 3-2 win over the Blues.

MONTREAL — Claude Julien doesn’t want his team to get overconfident after a surprisingly strong start to the season.

The Montreal Canadiens won their third game in a row and improved to 4-1-1 after defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Julien’s men are well ahead of last year’s pace, when they needed 12 games to earn their first nine points of the season, compared to six games this year.

“Right now I’m not proud of anything because it’s only six games,” said Julien. “I’m glad with the way things are going but there’s no reason to get carried away with where we are right now. There’s still lots to accomplish.

“I could be proud of a lot of things but I prefer being humble in these situations where things can change quickly.”

It looked like Brayden Schenn had salvaged a point for the struggling Blues (1-3-2) when he beat Carey Price, on the power play, with 3:29 remaining on the clock to tie the game 2-2.

But a horrible giveaway by Blues defenceman Colton Parayko deep in his own zone led to Brendan Gallagher‘s winning goal with 11 seconds left in regulation time.

From the corner of the ice, Parayko whiffed on a pass and the puck went right to Tomas Tatar, who poked it to Gallagher at the side of the net. The Canadiens winger redirected the pass up and over Jake Allen’s right pad for the winner.

“You obviously don’t expect it,” said Gallagher, who leads Montreal with four goals. “You have to be in the right spot. I thought Tuna (Tatar) did a good job to create the turnover and fortunately enough it ended up where I didn’t do that much. I just had to chip it in.”

Added Blues coach Mike Yeo of the game-winning goal: “It’s obviously a tough play. I feel bad for Colton. But we’re not playing well enough to win hockey games. And when you do that, yeah, one play can be the difference. You don’t deserve to win if you only go out and play hard in the third period. We’re not playing 60 minutes.”

The victory was Montreal’s first against the Blues since Oct. 20, 2015. The Canadiens were 0-3-2 in their last five versus St. Louis.

Max Domi and Mike Reilly each scored their first goal in a Canadiens sweater.

Just 39 seconds into the game, the 23-year-old Domi carried the puck from his own blue line before beating Allen with a backhand between the pads.

After Victor Dunn evened the score at 3:21 of the second period, Reilly gave Montreal the 2-1 lead four minutes later. The defenceman, who played 19 games with the Canadiens last season without scoring, showed fancy stick work at the blue line to evade Schenn’s poke check before firing a wrist shot past Allen on the power play.

“You can’t really practise that,” said Reilly of his goal. “It just kind of happened, off instincts. I saw the defender’s skates go one way and I had him going the other. Good screen in front too.

“I thought of that all the time, getting my first with the Canadiens here and I just did that. Definitely feels special, especially with the win too.”

Back between the pipes after missing two games with the flu, Price made 23 saves for his second victory of the season while Allen stopped 20-of-23 shots in defeat.

Montreal honoured Tomas Plekanec in a pre-game ceremony. The 35-year-old Czech native played, and scored, in his 1,000th NHL game on Monday.

Defenceman Karl Alzner played his first game of the season after being a healthy scratch for the first five.

Notes: Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw is still out with flu. … Forward Jacob de la Rose was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. … Blues centre Tyler Bozak played his 600th NHL game.

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