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Blues top Habs in shootout, Halak 3-0 vs. former team

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL -- St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak extended his record against the Montreal Canadiens to 3-0 against his former team.

Right winger T.J. Oshie scored in the shootout, and Halak didn't allow a goal in the tiebreaker to give St. Louis a 3-2 win over Montreal on Tuesday night.

Oshie shot into the top right corner on the Blues' first attempt against Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who stopped 30 shots in regulation and overtime.

Halak turned aside center Alex Galchenyuk and right winger Brendan Gallagher, and Montreal left winger Max Pacioretty missed wide as the Blues (9-2-2) won for the fourth time in five games.

Halak, who stopped 25 shots, won his third straight encounter against Price and the Canadiens, including a 3-0 victory at Bell Centre on Jan. 10, 2012, in the last meeting between the teams.

"A shootout is a shootout and no matter who you face you want to win, and even tonight, same thing, that was the approach, win in a shootout," said Halak, who was traded to St. Louis by Montreal in the summer of 2010 after the Slovakian goalie helped lead the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference final.

Right winger Chris Stewart drew the Blues even at 2 at 10:31 of the third when a shot from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk struck his leg on its way past Price.

That was one of 32 St. Louis shots that got through in addition to 38 shot attempts that were blocked by the Canadiens.

"I know one thing, when you're blocking a lot of shots, the puck's in your end a lot," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You don't block shots in the offensive zone or in the neutral zone, so when the puck's in your end and you've got big shot block totals, you're in your end a lot."

Halak stopped Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec on a penalty shot with 48.9 seconds left in regulation after center David Backes, the Blues' captain, was called for knocking his own goal off its moorings.

"A half-an-inch somewhere, whatever side you want, and it's a goal, so it's hard to say I would have done anything different on that one," Plekanec said.

Backes was surprised by the call.

"I'm not going to get too far into it -- stay out of trouble," said Backes, who set up center Alex Steen's league-leading 13th goal that opened the scoring 2:38 into the first. "I think Jaro bailing me out there on the penalty shot is kind of our takeaway from it. It's not something you look for.

"I've got to clear the puck on my backhand into the corner rather than throwing it back into the traffic and kind of in that pivot, I'm not the fleetest of foot, I never have been, and my momentum kind of takes me into the net there, and the call's the call and we'll move on from it, but I think if the result's the other way maybe we're a little more frustrated."

Left wingers Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival scored second-period goals for Montreal (8-7-1). The Canadiens lost their third in a row.

"We tried to manage the puck but they were doing a good job," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We tried to generate offense but you've got to give the other team some credit, too, and this is a good hockey team we faced tonight."

Steen gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead at 2:38 of the first with a shot from the slot on a setup by Backes, who knocked Montreal defenseman Douglas Murray off the puck behind the Canadiens' goal.

Bourque's goal 5:38 into the second period tied it at 1 and ended Halak's shutout streak against Montreal at 133:08.

Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov drove the net and ran into Halak's head when he was pushed into the St. Louis goalie by Blues center Vladimir Sobotka. Bourque put the rebound into the right side for his fifth goal.

Bournival scored his fourth goal off a turnover at 14:49 to make it 2-1.

Price stuck out his right pad to deny Stewart's scoring chance in the third shortly before he drew the Blues even.

NOTES: Blues LW Brenden Morrow missed his third straight game because of an upper-body injury. Morrow, who was placed on injury reserve Monday, has two goals and one assist in nine games in his first season in St. Louis. ... LW Magnus Paajarvi was also out of the Blues' lineup with an upper-body injury. He was placed on IR Thursday and has missed four games. Paajarvi has no points in four games. ... D Ian Cole and LW Chris Porter did not dress for St. Louis. ... C David Desharnais was left out of the Canadiens lineup. He has one assist in 15 games in the first season of a four-year, $14-million contract extension he signed in March. ... D Greg Pateryn was also a healthy scratch for Montreal. ... Therrien used his timeout at 6:26 of the second, not long after the Canadiens tied the score at 1.

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