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Habs rebound from tough loss with win in Dallas

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- After a 5-4 overtime loss at the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, the Montreal Canadiens came to Dallas seeking atonement. That's what they got with four-point performances from left winger Max Pacioretty and defenseman P.K. Subban in a 6-4 win against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Thursday.

"Yeah, whenever you help your team win a game, it's a good feeling," Pacioretty said. "We had a lot of chances, our line. The chances we didn't bury gave our team some momentum too."

Montreal (24-14-4, 52 points) finished its six-game road trip at 3-2-1.

"We had a chance to make a good road trip and this is exactly what we did," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.

Center David Desharnais also finished with a goal and an assist and goaltender Carey Price stopped 28 shots for the Canadiens.

In a game that was 3-2 after two periods, the Canadiens and Stars combined for five goals in the third with the game-winner coming from Montreal center Lars Eller with 9:21 remaining.

The Canadiens added another when Pacioretty scored an empty-netter with 1:04 remaining for his second of the game to go with two assists. Subban got his third assist on the play to go with a goal earlier in the game.

"He took the ice they gave to him," Therrien said of Subban. "He didn't force any plays and he was solid defensively too. He played a great game."

Dallas took an early lead when center and captain Jamie Benn scored his 14th of the season 6:12 in. Center Tyler Seguin's pass from the left corner found Benn in the left circle and he finished with a one-timer through Price's legs.

Montreal answered at 11:00 of the first when Pacioretty beat Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen with a wrister from the left circle. Subban got the primary assist after an outlet pass from the Montreal zone.

The Habs took their first lead 1:35 into the second when Desharnais whipped a wrister from the slot over Lehtonen's blocker. Subban again assisted, this time sending a well-placed backhand from the left circle that found his teammate, who quickly converted.

Dallas tied it at 5:23 of the second when rookie right winger Valeri Nichushkin scored his eighth goal on a penalty shot. Nichushkin was on a breakaway near the Montreal goal when he was taken down from behind by Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges.

Nichushkin got the better of Price on the penalty shot, firing a wrister under Price's glove that hit both posts before going in.

That lead didn't last long as 1:07 later Subban scored his seventh.

Lehtonen denied Pacioretty's slap shot from the left point and Subban collected the carom in the left corner. Subban then skated through the left circle and the slot before sending a wrister through Lehtonen's legs during a 4-on-4.

The Canadiens took their first two-goal lead at 3:30 of the third when right winger Brendan Gallagher beat Lehtonen for his 11th with Montreal on the power play. Pacioretty's slap shot from the slot went wide left and Gallagher was waiting at the far post. He collected the carom and flipped in a backhand shot off Lehtonen's right shoulder.

The Stars cut it to 4-3 when Seguin beat Price top shelf with a slap shot from the left point at 7:42 of the third. And Dallas tied it yet again at 8:29 when defenseman Brenden Dillon sent one past Price on the short side also from the left point.

However, that lead again didn't endure and Eller beat Lehtonen top shelf from the right circle with 9:21 remaining for the eventual game-winner.

"Parts of this game, I thought we gambled on the offensive side and gave up some real good chances that we normally don't give up," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I was concerned after going through the stretch we went through with a couple real emotional wins that we might get loose, and we were loose."

NOTES: Canadiens C Daniel Briere, D Alexei Emelin and RW George Parros (concussion) were scratched by Montreal. ... Stars C Shawn Horcoff (illness) and LW Ray Whitney, who missed a second straight game despite participating in morning skate Thursday, were scratched by Dallas. ... Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty continued his recent hot streak with his team-leading 18th of the season in the first period. Pacioretty now has 16 goals over his past 21 games. ... Dallas C and captain Jamie Benn now has a five-game point streak after scoring his 14th goal of the season early in the first period. ... Stars RW Alex Chiasson, a Montreal native, was excited to play against his hometown club for the second time in his career. "The people there, they love their Canadiens," he said after morning skate. "They love their hockey. I grew up being one of the biggest fans." ... The announced attendance was 13,007.

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