Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek each scored during a wild third period to help the Montreal Canadiens stay hot by posting a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
Vanek added a pair of assists and Tomas Plekanec potted a pair of early goals for the Canadiens, winners of four straight and seven of their last eight games. David Desharnais had a goal and an assist, while Carey Price survived a three-goal outburst by the Red Wings in the final frame during a 26-save effort.
"The second and third periods weren't good at all. We got lucky that we found a way to win," Plekanec said.
Tomas Tatar accounted for two of Detroit's third-period scores and Riley Sheahan recorded a goal and an assist, but Jimmy Howard stopped just 24-of-29 shots as the Red Wings were dealt a third straight defeat and missed out on a chance to improve their playoff chances.
"Catch-up hockey is losing hockey," Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock said.
Detroit overcame a 3-1 deficit after two periods on goals by Tatar just over three minutes apart, but the Canadiens had a quick answer to regain the upper hand only 78 seconds after Tatar's second marker.
Pacioretty sent Montreal back in front while working a transition rush with Desharnais, with his shot deflecting off Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall and trickling through 5:48 into the third period for a 4-3 Habs' edge.
Vanek made it a two-goal differential with a brilliant re-direction of Andrei Markov's long drive with 8:45 left to play. However, the Red Wings pulled within 5-4 just 24 seconds later when Johan Franzen rifled a well-placed wrister into the top right corner of the Montreal net following the ensuing faceoff.
Detroit kept up the pressure shortly after Franzen's score, but Price withstood the challenge as the Red Wings failed to come up with the equalizer.
Plekanec staked the Canadiens to a 2-0 lead after one period with a pair of tallies within a span of nearly nine minutes, with P.K. Subban setting up the first with a give into the right circle that the Montreal center fired over Howard's glove 5:14 in.
A neutral zone turnover by Kronwall later in the frame created a give-and-go between Subban and Plekanec, with the latter roofing home a wrister on a 4- on-4 with 5:49 remaining in the first.
The Red Wings wasted little time halving the deficit in the second period, as Sheahan snuck a shot under Price's right arm with just 1:28 elapsed. However, Montreal later restored a two-goal margin when Vanek knocked Kronwall off the puck and dropped a pass that Desharnais tipped into an open left side just past the midway mark of the middle session.
Detroit then came roaring out of the gates in the third period to draw even. Tatar converted a Subban turnover in Montreal's end into his first of the night 1:24 into the stanza, then deposited a behind-the-net feed from Tomas Jurco under the crossbar at the 4:30 mark to forge a 3-3 tie.
Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist had a six-game goal streak halted, but registered an assist on Franzen's tally ... Jurco returned to the Red Wings' lineup following a seven-game absence caused by a broken rib ... Tatar has three goals and three assists over his last three outings ... The Canadiens had lost the first two matchups between the clubs this season, having been outscored by a 6-2 count in those games.