MONTREAL -- Interim head coach Martin St. Louis had said it was a dream of his to coach an NHL team.
After four games behind the bench and a whirlwind week in one of the world's biggest hockey markets, he can finally say he has a win -- in large part thanks to the late-game heroics of Cole Caufield.
St. Louis' Montreal Canadiens came back from one goal down to clinch a 3-2 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues Thursday night to snap one of the worst winless skids in franchise history.
"It's been a big week for me," St. Louis said. "Ten days ago I was dropping off my kids at practice and I was on the ice with bantam players. Flashforward to now and I'm four games in as a coach getting my first win."
The Canadiens (9-33-7) scored first thanks to Paul Byron but the Blues (28-14-6) got back in the game with goals from Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich. St. Louis led 2-1 with 1:19 to go in regulation.
Caufield tied things up with 10 seconds left before notching the game-winner 2:22 into overtime. For the occasion, the players ensured the game puck would go to their coach.
"It's a puck that I'll always remember," St. Louis said. "You can win your first game in many ways but to win it on a comeback with an extra attacker and an overtime winner is special."
"We're pumped up for him," said Caufield. "I think the buzz around the room is pretty high right now for that reason. It's obviously big for our team but to get his first under his belt, hopefully we can string some together now."
Despite lacklustre results from the Canadiens, St. Louis believes his players are improving. The Hall of Famer was glad the team won, but happiest with seeing his style being implemented.
"I'm even happier with the process that the players buy in and how we work hard physically but also mentally," St. Louis said. "We'll keep getting better, there's a lot that I still need to slowly introduce to them."
In a third straight start for Montreal, goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 26 shots and allowed two goals. Montrembeault was happy and relieved to see his teammates come back to win it after he conceded the late goal to Buchnevich.
"I wasn't really happy to get scored on with a minute left, I was scared last week's (2-1 loss to Columbus) would happen again but the guys didn't give up and fought," he said. "I think it's also the first time we scored with the extra attacker so we really deserved this one with the effort to win it in overtime."
The monkey is officially off Montreal's back as the team snapped a 10-game winless streak, one of the worst droughts in franchise history. The Canadiens are 1-3-0 under their new coach.
Ville Husso made 27 saves for the Blues, allowing three goals, in his first game back at the Bell Centre since playing for Finland in the 2015 world junior championship.
In his 500th NHL game, Byron found his first goal of the season and gave Montreal a rare opening marker this season. After missing most of the campaign recovering from hip surgery, Byron stood in the right spot in the slot to tap in a pass from Arturri Lehkonen behind the net at 7:13 of the first period.
The Blues tied the score on a short-handed effort with 1:34 to go in the first. Thomas and Buchnevich exchanged passes on the rush and Thomas beat Montembeault with his seventh goal of the season.
Neither team found the go-ahead goal in the second period and well into the third, and couldn't capitalize on the eight penalties given in the final 40 minutes of play.
The Blues finally found their way with 1:19 to go. Buchnevich powered his way to what looked to be the game-winning goal with a slap shot from the right faceoff circle giving Montreal hardly any time to equalize.
But they did tie the game. Caufield forced overtime on a one-timer before scoring the winner, also on a one-timer.