Blackhawks get monkey off their back with OT win over MTL

It only took 80 games, but the Blackhawks finally got a monkey off their back: winning a game in regular overtime.

Chicago welcomed the Montréal Canadiens to town for their final home game of the regular season. The Habs are without several players, including starting goaltender Carey Price, but they hold on to second place in the Atlantic division in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Tampa Bay, who have one game in hand.

From the way the Canadiens played, however, you wouldn't guess that they were short so many regulars. The refs were rarely on their whistles, and it was an entertaining and fast-paced game between two talented teams, with Montréal dominating early in the first.

The game went scoreless until 7:31 in the third period, when Dale Weise put a wrist shot past Corey Crawford to put Montréal on the board first.

Jeremy Morin would tie things up for the Blackhawks just over three minutes later, his third goal in as many games. But it would take the Canadiens just 22 seconds for Francis Bouillon to slap in their second goal.

Following strong play by the Blackhawks to close out the game, Marian Hossa would tie the game with 48 seconds left in play.

And then came what Chicago fans have come to dread this season: overtime. But for the first time this season, the Blackhawks not only won the game in overtime without having to go to a shootout,b but they did it just 43 seconds into OT with a Patrick Sharp wrist shot. It was the 22nd time this season that the Blackhawks went to OT.

The Blackhawks could still achieve second in the Central - which would mean home ice advantage - but the odds are slim for that. Chicago is 27-7-7 on home ice. 

They will head to Washington on Friday night to face the Capitals before closing out their season Saturday night in Nashville.

Jonathan Toews (upper body) and Patrick Kane (lower body) are still currently expected to be out until the playoffs; however, reports are currently good on both players.

OTHER BLACKHAWKS NEWS - ROCKFORD ICEHOGS

Rockford IceHogs defenseman Adam Clendening was named to the AHL First All-Star team. Clendening has 12 goals and 44 assists in 70 games played for the IceHogs, which leads Rockford in scoring. He was a second-round 2011 Draft pick of the Blackhawks.

Teuvo Teräväinen was reassigned to the IceHogs. Teräväinen has played in 3 NHL games since arriving from Finland's Liiga; but has been a healthy scratch over the past four games. With Jeremy Morin recalled to the Blackhawks and Brandon Pirri's recent trade to the Florida Panthers, Teuvo Teräväinen should see top-line ice time in Rockford.

The IceHogs are currently 10th in the AHL's Western Conference with 75 points. However, they have two games in hand over the Charlotte Checkers (8th, 77 points).