Andreas Athanasiou leads third-period rally past Canadiens, Red Wings complete series sweep
Detroit — If Andreas Athanasiou is on the trade block, he made himself a bit more desirable Tuesday against Montreal.
Athanasiou scored two third-period goals, including the game-winner at 14 minutes, 45 seconds, as the Wings rallied for a 4-3 victory.
Tyler Bertuzzi carried the puck into the offensive zone and found Athanasiou trailing. Athanasiou snapped his 10th goal past goalie Carey Price and completed a Red Wings' comeback from 3-1 to begin the third period.
Athanasiou, the subject of speculation leading to Monday's trade deadline, scored his ninth goal at 5:04 of the third period, slicing Montreal's lead to 3-2.
“I don’t really pay attention to it that too much,” said Athanasiou of the rumors. “I don’t think anyone in this room really pays attention to it. It’s one of those things that’s out of our control. I come in ready to work and the business side takes care of it (trades). I come on the ice and play hockey.”
Athanasiou’s first-period turnover led to Montreal’s first goal, but from there, Athanasiou rebounded to play one of his better all-around games.
“He won tons of puck battles,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He had an unfortunate play on the first goal and he took that to heart and come in and won tons of puck battles the rest of the game and when he does that, the skill comes through.”
Mike Green tied it 3-3 at 10:41 with his third goal (and 500th career point).
Green took a pass from Anthony Mantha and beat Price with a bit of knuckleball.
“I guess I’m lucky I fanned on it,” Green said. “Carey probably knew where I was going (with the shot) and luckily I didn’t get a good shot off. But I’ll take it.”
Montreal scored two first-period goals, taking what appeared to be a safe lead.
But Robby Fabbri scored his 13th goal for the Wings at 1:24 of the second period that cut Montreal’s lead to 2-1 and the Wings’ gradually took control heading into the third period.
The Wings (15-43-4) completed a four-game season sweep of Montreal for the first time in franchise history.
“We played much better in the second period and stayed on it in the third,” Blashill said. “I was real proud of the guys for digging in. A number of guys played real well as the game went along.”
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 19 shots, earning victories in all four starts against Montreal.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Wings’ (15-43-4), who've only won three of their last 17 games.
“I remember last year we took quite a beating there (Montreal) last year in a game and as teams you don’t forget that,” Green said. “It was imperative when we started the season to make sure we gave it our best effort and we did a good job against them all year.”
Montreal's Nate Thompson and Jeff Petry (Orchard Lake St. Mary's/Michigan State) scored goals in the first period, and Nick Suzuki added a power-play goal in the second period.
“It feels good to beat those guys four times,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “They have a good goalie, good team, good group over there. It’s a team that in the past couple of years we’ve struggled against. We remembered that and came out with four solid games.”