- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

MONTREAL (AP) - There was something familiar about the way the checking of Mike Babcock’s Detroit Red Wings smothered the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

It was almost exactly the way Canada won the gold medal under Babcock at the Olympics in Sochi.

And, it worked again this time as Gustav Nyquist’s rebound goal with 28 seconds left in overtime led the Red Wings past the Canadiens 2-1.

“(Babcock) always stressed that we play this way,” said Johan Franzen, who returned from a concussion to assist on both of Detroit’s goals. “This is how you win games.

“Especially coming down the stretch here and going into the playoffs, this is how you have to play hockey. You’ve got to track like never before, and always be above their guys and make it small for them so you can create turnovers. Then you give your team a lot of opportunities.”

Franzen set up a power-play goal 14:01 into the first period by Todd Bertuzzi for Detroit.

Captain Brian Gionta scored for Montreal with 29 seconds left in regulation time after Peter Budaj was pulled for an extra attacker.

Babcock’s defense-first style helped Canada go 6-0 at the Olympics, surrendering only three goals along the way. Gionta’s goal was the first against a Babcock-coached team since Lauris Darzins got one at 15:41 of the first period of Canada’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Latvia.

Canada shut out the United States 1-0 in the semifinals and then topped Sweden 3-0 in the final Sunday.

“It’s tough to compare,” Nyquist said. “It’s a different style of game on a smaller rink here. It was an adjustment for a few guys out there, but it was nice to get the win.”

There were a handful of Olympians of both sides who had trickled back over the past week as their teams were eliminated.

It made for slow, scrambling hockey with few good scoring chances on either side. Detroit had a 30-20 shot advantage, and fans booed as Montreal tested Jimmy Howard only twice in the second period.

“I’m sure guys noticed the time difference a bit,” Nyquist said. “You have to battle through it. It was the middle of the night in Sochi, but we’ve been back for three days and we’re starting to get it back. We’ll get some sleep before we play in Ottawa (on Thursday night).”

The Canadiens salvaged a point when Gionta collected a puck at the side of the net in a scramble and backhanded the tying goal into a top corner.

“The execution was not there tonight for both teams,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. “Both teams played solid defensively. There wasn’t much space on the ice, but we put ourselves in position to get a point. It’s disappointing that we didn’t score in overtime or get to the shootout.”

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