DETROIT (AP) — Alex Galchenyuk scored 1:42 into overtime, giving the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
The Atlantic Division-champion Canadiens, with nothing at stake, rested many players in their final game of the regular season. Carey Price, Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov were among their healthy scratches. A few Montreal players, including Shea Weber, are allowing injuries to heal more before facing the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.
The Red Wings’ postseason streak ended at 25, but they have plenty of motivation to win in their final weekend at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit’s Frans Nielsen and Dylan Larkin scored tiebreaking goals in the first and second periods, firing up the crowd as if a victory would matter in the standings. Montreal’s Nathan Beaulieu and Artturi Lehkonen scored game-tying goals in the second.
Charlie Lindgren made 25 saves for the Canadiens. Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots for the Red Wings.
A sold-out crowd was in a festive mood, without a doubt, a night before the Red Wings hosts their last hockey game on Sunday against New Jersey in the banner-filled arena they’ve called home since the 1979-80 season. They’ll move to a new facility, Little Caesars Arena, nearby next season.
Even though Detroit is in last place in the Atlantic Division, there was a playoff-like atmosphere all night.
Every fan seemed to be standing when the puck dropped in overtime and a collective sigh was heard when Detroit defenseman Mike Green turned the puck over near Mrazek. The Canadiens took advantage with Galchenyuk scoring off an assist from Nikita Nesterov.
That didn’t send red-and-white clad spectators to the exit right away. Hundreds of fans lingered in their seats and aisles after the game, some going down to the glass, to take pictures in what for many of them will be their last visit.
NOTES: Montreal’s scratches also included Jordie Benn, Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov. … Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom dropped a ceremonial puck and was joined in the arena by former Red Wings such as Tomas Holmstrom and Dino Ciccarelli.
Canadiens: Host the New York Rangers in Game 1 of a first-round series.
Red Wings: Host a game at Joe Louis Arena for the last time on Sunday against New Jersey.