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Markov lifts Canadiens past Devils in overtime

Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov (L) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Erik Cole (72) during overtime NHL hockey action agains
Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov (L) celebrates his game-winning goal with teammate Erik Cole (72) during overtime NHL hockey action agains

(Reuters) - The Montreal Canadiens handed the New Jersey Devils their first loss of the season when a red-hot Andrei Markov scored late in overtime to secure a 4-3 win on Sunday.

Montreal squandered a 3-1 third period lead but Markov, who has a team-leading four goals, scored with 38 seconds left in overtime as the host Canadiens (3-1-0) extended their winning streak to three games.

"I don't know what to say," Markov told reporters. "We knew it was going to be a challenge for us because we were playing against a good team, so we played hard and I'm happy we won the game."

For New Jersey (3-0-1), who made an inspired late run and got 28 saves from goalie Martin Brodeur, the loss was the first blemish to their record after opening the lockout-reduced season with three consecutive wins.

Ryan White and Brendan Gallagher had put Montreal 2-0 up in the first before Brandon Prust made it 3-1 early in the third.

New Jersey rallied behind third-period goals from David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus before but their hopes of forcing a shootout were dashed in the closing seconds.

The winning goal came after New Jersey's Andy Greene was called for holding to set-up a Canadiens powerplay.

Rene Bourque misfired a shot but Markov reacted quickest and converted the winner.

The Devils, losers of last season's Stanley Cup finals, had not won the first three games of a season since the 2002-03 campaign.

Patrik Elias scored in the second period for New Jersey and added two assists to reach the 900-point mark for his career.

"It's a pretty cool accomplishment, but hopefully I'll keep adding," Elias said.

(Reporting by Jahmnal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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