Before the game, Frank Sinatra singing about his kind of town was piped into the Bell Centre and Montreal treated Hawks legends warmly during a pregame ceremony.
In the end, though, the Canadiens turned out to be rude hosts as they handed the Hawks their sixth straight defeat, this time 4-3 in overtime before a crowd of 21,273 in a matchup of Original Six franchises. The Hawks earned a point for the overtime loss and moved their season record to 19-19-4.
"There are a lot of guys who competed hard," Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. "It would have been nice to come out with the win and break this streak, but we can take a positive out of the fact we gained a point."
The Canadiens' Guillaume Latendresse scored the game-winner 3 minutes 18 seconds into overtime, tipping a pass from Maxim Lapierre past Hawks goalie Patrick Lalime.
Lalime, who grew up about an hour from Montreal, stopped 34 shots, including a penalty shot, and was particularly strong in the third period when he made nine saves.
"For the most part we played a good game," said Lalime, a St. Bonaventure, Quebec, native, who was giving starter Nikolai Khabibulin a rest. "On the road here it's not easy, but I think the guys played well. You'd like to get two [points], but you have to look at the positive. We just have to build on it [Wednesday night against Dallas]."
Saku Koivu gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead when he took a pass from Latendresse in front of the net, deked and scored against Lalime at 4:22 of the first period.
Jack Skille's first career goal 1:24 later gave the Hawks a 1-1 tie. Skille, playing in his fifth NHL game, picked up a rebound off a Duncan Keith shot and fired it past Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet.
"It's tough to lose a game like that in overtime," Skille said. "We played really well. We've had a tough record the past five or six games and it's a good thing we took them to overtime and battled hard. But it's too bad we didn't get the victory."
Lalime stood strong against a Mark Streit penalty shot at 9:46. With Montreal short-handed, Streit picked up an errant pass and skated in on Lalime before being taken down by Rene Bourque. Streit tried to fire a shot between Lalime's pads on the penalty shot but was denied.
The Canadiens eventually took a 2-1 lead when Patrice Brisebois floated a shot in from the blue line at 17:13 while on the power play.
The Hawks struck back quickly in the second as Robert Lang and Kris Versteeg scored 18 seconds apart. Lang's wrist shot from the top of the circle on the power play at 2:27 was his 15th goal of the season. Versteeg scored his second of the year when he poked in a rebound of a Yanic Perreault shot.
Andrei Markov's slap shot from the top of the left circle on the power play tied it at 3-3 at the 8:04 mark of the second.
"We've been right there the last three games," said Keith, who logged 34:14 minutes of ice-time. "We're in every game and we're getting our chances. They've been three really good games the last three. If we just stick with it and stay positive we'll battle through this."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun