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Montreal — Pavel Datsyuk returned to the Red Wings lineup Tuesday, but it was Jimmy Howard who starred.

But Howard and the rest of the Red Wings couldn't hold back a charging Montreal team that won 2-1 on David Desharnais' goal 56 seconds into overtime.

"It's frustrating, you're (almost three) minutes from getting two points and end up losing in overtime," said Howard, who saw Alex Galchenyuk tie the game for Montreal at 16:51 of the third period. "But they've been on fire offensively. We did a good job on their top lines."

The Red Wings dropped to 3-1-2 (eight points), with goal scoring continuing to be a problem. They've scored 12 goals in the six games, and have two or less goals in five of the six games.

"Howie gave us a chance, we've had good goaltending," coach Mike Babcock said. "We haven't given up many goals but we haven't scored many. We did a lot of good things but in the last 10 minutes they were pushing and we were hanging on more than we were pushing."

Howard made 34 saves, many of them sparkling, but couldn't hold back two chances by the Canadiens (6-1-0, 12 points) late.

Galchenyuk tied the game 1-1, tucking a wraparound past Howard for his third goal of the season.

Galchenyuk won a battle with Kyle Quincey at the net, controlled the puck, and skated around the net and snuck the puck past a sprawling Howard.

On the winning goal, Desharnais lifted a shot through Howard, who saw a maze of bodies in front of him.

"It was a cluster you-know-what," Howard said.

Datsyuk returned and assisted on Henrik Zetterberg's goal, played 18:05 with one shot on net, and almost had a highlight-reel goal midway in the third period.

Datsyuk appeared to score on a spinning backhanded goal but it was waved off, as Justin Abdelkader was called for interfering with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who appeared to initiate the contact in the crease.

"A goal like that's tough to wave off," Zetterberg said.

Babcock feels Datsyuk will get stronger the more he plays.

"When you miss as much time as Pav has missed, it's going to take you some time," Babcock said. "He's a talented guy but it's going to take some time to get capable of what you're being."

The Red Wings failed on their opportunities against Price (27 saves) until Zetterberg scored his second goal in two games.

Zetterberg cut through the slot and knuckleballed a shot that appeared to glance of Subban's skate and got a piece of Price before settling into the net.

The Red Wings' penalty kill continued its perfection on the season.

They killed one Montreal power play, giving the Red Wings an 18-for-18 stretch of killing penalties this season.

But on the flip side, the Red Wings power play was 0-for-3 and is now 2-for-24 for the season. Confidence appears to be lacking, as well as execution.

"We have to get the power play fixed," Babcock said. "We like lots of things about it but the bottom line is we haven't got much results from it. It's like confidence, you have to earn the right to feel good about yourself. Right now it's a mental block and we have to get over it."

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tkulfan

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