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Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty, right, celebrates with teammates Andrei Markov, left, and David Desharnais after scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs during overtime NHL action in Montreal, Saturday, March 1, 2014. (CP)
Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty, right, celebrates with teammates Andrei Markov, left, and David Desharnais after scoring against the Toronto Maple Leafs during overtime NHL action in Montreal, Saturday, March 1, 2014. (CP)

Habs earn all-important second point with overtime win over Leafs Add to ...

Just over two minutes later, Kessel scooped up a puck in the neutral zone and skipped around Murray, firing a perfect wrister just inside Budaj’s right post.

“I don’t know if it was Bozak or Lupul who made a spinorama, around-the-back pass that went through maybe two skates, maybe a couple of sticks and ends up right on Kessel’s stick for a breakaway,” Pacioretty said. “I’m right there with Kessel but I don’t really see the puck coming until the last second . . . it’s just the way things were going for us then.”

So he didn’t anticipate the behind-the-back pass through a thicket of skates and sticks?

“Through the neutral zone? No. I don’t think that’s something they practice too often,” smiled Pacioretty, a U.S. Olympic teammate of Kessel and van Riemsdyk (he has known the latter since childhood).

In fairness, the goal was coming – between Pacioretty’s goal and Kessel’s go-ahead marker, the Leafs fired 21 shots at the Montreal net.

Afterward, Montreal coach Michel Therrien called a timeout.

“The bench was really down after the third goal so I just wanted to tell them there’s still a lot of hockey to play,” he said.

Pacioretty credited the tactic – and Therrien’s generally positive outlook of late – with lifting the team’s spirits.

“(Therrien) has been so positive with us lately, whether it be when we’re struggling – we were struggling there tonight too – when you see your coach motivating you and being positive like that, everyone got the message right away. It showed in our game, and he’s really found a way to get this group to rally together and tonight was a good example of that,” he said.

The lead was indeed short-lived, after an ill-advised diagonal clear-in bounced to Gionta, the referee’s arm went up when Gleason rubbed the dimunitive Habs winger out along the boards.

Subban was subsequently allowed to fire a trio of his trademark heavy slapshots at Bernier, the last of which caromed in off the goaltender.

Afterward, the recent Canadian Olympian – who was benched on Thursday in Pittsburgh after making a costly turnover that lead to a goal – mostly expressed relief.

“I’m still trying to get my timing back after the break. I kinda feel like I’m skating in quicksand,” he said.

With 30.7 seconds to play in regulation, Kessel flipped a clearing attempt over the glass, although the lapse wouldn’t prove fatal..

The Habs wouldn’t squander a second chance at the man-advantage.

Budaj, meanwhile, is 2-0-1 in relief of Price, who will be on the Habs’ upcoming four-game Western swing.

“Sure I want to shine,” Budaj said, “but you play for the logo on the front, not the name on the back.”

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