By Stephen Hunt, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — The Montreal Canadiens expect much from their captain, Max Pacioretty, and for a second consecutive evening, he didn’t disappoint.
Pacioretty scored the game-winner on a breakaway 19 seconds into overtime, his second goal of the game, giving the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 overtime win against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday at American Airlines Center.
Jeff Petry sprung Pacioretty on the clincher with a pass from the Montreal zone. Pacioretty, who now has a franchise-record eight overtime goals, also scored the game-winner in Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win in Nashville.
Nathan Beaulieu had a goal and two assists for the Canadiens (24-9-6), who were playing their fifth straight overtime game. Montreal is now 5-6 in overtime.
“It’s a little bit of a blessing that we’ve played this many overtime games in a row since we’ve gotten a little bit better at it (compared to earlier in the season),” Pacioretty said. “But it definitely feels good to get two points.”
The Canadiens also got a goal from Alexander Radulov. Phillip Danault and Shea Weber added two assists, and Al Montoya made 39 saves.
Dallas (16-15-8) got goals from Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg, who also had an assist, and Esa Lindell. The Stars are 2-8 in overtime.
“I thought we beat ourselves,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “They didn’t earn it. We gave it away.”
The Stars trailed 2-1 late, but Lindell forced overtime when he scored his fourth of the season on a wrist shot from near the Montreal blue line with 2:47 remaining.
Beaulieu scored his second of the season on a wrist shot from the left circle with 9:22 remaining in the first period. After Danault stole the puck from Curtis McKenzie inside the right circle, Danault fed Beaulieu, who beat Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who made 29 saves, far post with a wrister.
“You learn a lot about a hockey club with adversity. I always consider overtime adversity,” Beaulieu said. “Battling injuries and coming up with big wins with our keys guys stepping up, it’s always nice to see.”
With 7:48 remaining in the first, Danault saved a likely goal when he cleared the puck out of his own crease with a backhand after a wrist shot by Jordie Benn from the right circle got behind Montoya.
Dallas tied it when Seguin scored his team-leading 14th of the season 5:16 before the first intermission on a deflection. Stephen Johns took the initial shot from the right point, but Seguin redirected Johns’ attempt enough to send it through Montoya’s five-hole.
Late in the first period, Canadiens forward Paul Byron sustained an upper-body injury and did not return.
Beaulieu looked to break the 1-1 deadlock after one with a wrist shot from the left point 35 seconds into the second, but his effort rang loudly off the crossbar.
The Stars took their first lead with 7:31 remaining when Klingberg scored a power-play goal from the high slot. Klingberg’s fourth of the season came when he flicked the puck inside the far post, 13 seconds into a power play after a hooking call on Brendan Gallagher with 7:44 remaining in the second.
“Obviously, we still got one point there, but we wanted two points,” Klingberg said. “All the points we get now are really huge.”
The Stars led 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Montreal pulled things level 2:58 into the third when Radulov scored a power-play goal. The Canadiens were 1:04 into a power play after a holding penalty on McKenzie at 1:54 when the puck hit Antoine Roussel’s stick at the blue line.
Radulov, who now has a five-game point streak, gained possession in the Dallas zone and beat Lehtonen with a backhand to make it 2-2.
“He’s got so much passion for the game. He makes big plays, and that’s another guy that wants to win,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said of Radulov.
Thirty seconds after tying it, Montreal went back on the power play when Johns earned a delay of game penalty for firing the puck over the boards at 3:28.
Forty-five seconds later, the Canadiens capitalized when Pacioretty scored his 17th of the season, beating Lehtonen, top shelf and far post with a wrist shot from the right circle, giving Montreal two goals in 1:15.
“We showed a lot of character again tonight,” Therrien said. “It was a tough game to play to be quite honest with the emotion that we got yesterday and the traveling. We played against a fresh team. The character, the work ethic of that group, it’s phenomenal.”
Early in the third, Gallagher headed to the locker room after being struck in the hand by a shot from Weber. And like Byron, Gallagher also did not return.
“He (Gallagher) is not going to come to Toronto, so he’s going to go meet our doctors,” Therrien said.