Hidden Game: Canadiens goalie Jake Allen holds the fort in 4-3 OT win

In what might have been his final start as a Hab, Allen tasted victory for the first time since Jan. 15 by beating the Predators.

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This episode of the Hidden Game is brought to you by Jake Allen.

If the Canadiens goaltender was playing his final game for Montreal on Tuesday night against Nashville — ahead of Friday’s NHL trade deadline — he can sleep well knowing he’ll depart with class and dignity.

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The team’s three-netminder rotation hasn’t worked well this season, unless your name is Samuel Montembeault. But the veteran Allen seemingly has been the biggest victim. Whether it has been a lack of offensive support or long stretches of inactivity, things haven’t worked out for the 33-year-old, who never has complained about his lot in life although he deserved better.

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Allen, starting for the first time since Feb. 24 at New Jersey, showed early he was on his game and wouldn’t go down without a fight. In the fifth minute, he made a nifty pad save on Luke Evangelista, in alone with the Predators on the power play.

The Canadiens, who have played extremely well on this four-game road trip — they’ve garnered four of a possible six points so far — rallied from a 3-2 third-period deficit, finally winning a game in overtime, 4-3. Allen, who had lost his five previous starts, recorded 25 saves on 28 shots to win for the first time since Jan. 15 against Colorado.

Milestone: Nick Suzuki’s overtime goal, coming only 17 seconds into the extra frame, was the 100th of his career.

News you need (Part I): Rookie Joshua Roy, whose second NHL goal at 14:55 of the third period tied the game, hadn’t scored in 13 previous games.

News you need (Part II): Nashville was on an eight-game winning streak before facing the Canadiens.

News you need (Part III): The Predators had allowed only one goal in each of their last three home games before facing Montreal, while outscoring opponents 15-3. Goaltender Juuse Saros was on a six-game winning streak.

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Returning, but not with a vengeance: Forward Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury on Feb. 10 against Dallas, returned after missing 10 games.

With Colin White placed on injured reserve with an upper-body ailment, head coach Martin St. Louis used Harvey-Pinard at centre on the fourth line, between Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylönen. Harvey-Pinard, who normally plays on the wing, had taken 15 career faceoffs in 62 games. History will note he went 0-for-5 on draws against Nashville.

Harvey-Pinard, playing only his 25th game this season, has one goal and seven points. This also meant energy winger Michael Pezzetta was a healthy scratch for a seventh consecutive game, making us wonder what it will take to get him dressed again. In 44 games, Pezzetta has three goals and 10 points.

It’s a game of inches: Alex Newhook hit the post in the game’s 15th minute. Not since the late Charlton Heston played Moses have the seas parted for anyone the way it did for Newhook, who walked in on Saros, beating him but not the iron.

Best moustache in the league: We’ll give that honour, for now, to Filip Forsberg, who opened the scoring moments after Newhook’s near-miss. Forsberg could have been a bartender in the Old West, although he reminds us of the sinister Snidely Whiplash, made famous in Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.

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Boxing news: We’re not sure what prompted the second-period fight between Josh Anderson and Luke Schenn, but give the Predators defenceman, a southpaw, a close split-decision victory. If there’s a rematch, it will have to wait until next season.

How not to backcheck: In what is becoming a recurring theme, Juraj Slafkovsky didn’t look good on Forsberg’s goal. Or, for that matter, on Nashville’s second goal, by Gustav Nyquist.

Wake up: The Canadiens went nearly half of the second period before generating their first shot, by Cole Caufield.

Close, but no cigar: Montreal did finally awaken, producing two goals within six seconds in the same period, the scores coming from Brendan Gallagher and David Savard, whose shot from centre banked off the stanchion with the Saros, who should know every nook and cranny of Bridgestone Arena, looking on helplessly from behind his net.

The Canadiens, incredibly, scored two goals within two seconds — an NHL record — against Washington in 2018, the second score, from Joel Armia, coming into an empty net.

Next time, decline the penalty: The Canadiens failed to convert two manpower advantages. Montreal now is 1-for-15 on the power play in its last seven games.

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What game are they watching?: Referees Trevor Hanson and Brian Pochmara missed a blatant third-period high-stick by Forsberg on Kaiden Guhle.

On the other hand: Following a coach’s challenge by St. Louis, the potential winning goal by Michael McCarron, a former Canadiens first-round draft choice, was disallowed due to a high stick.

They said it: “In the second, we bent but didn’t break so to speak,” St. Louis told journalists in Nashville post-game. “A lot of our second periods, sometimes we tend to break more than bend. We just stayed the course. We knew we could be better during that second period. We were playing a really good team. Sometimes you just have to weather the storm.”

“When you look at the start of the year, where we were and are now, you can see improvement, and there’s excitement around our team,” Gallagher told journalists in Nashville. “Our coaching staff does a really good job of keeping us positive.”

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