RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Hurricanes are hoping that one splendid period and a winning goal in overtime will change the direction of their season.
"It's a big win, a character-type win," Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said. "This is something you can build on.
"We wanted it. A lot of fun to be part of it."
Manny Malhotra scored the fourth goal in a seven-minute span for the Hurricanes, who had trailed 3-0 in the second period.
"You sit there in the dressing room and you have the options of folding or going in and playing the third period the way they did," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "They gelled together and went for it.
"That's what the season is all about with team bonding and building. A lot of guys probably feel really good about themselves, and it's a big win."
Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban tied the game 4-4 with 9:44 remaining in regulation.
Jeff Skinner scored a pair of power-play goals 37 seconds apart, and Staal tied the game at 3 just 4:07 into the third period.
"We stuck with it the whole game, and it paid off for us," Skinner said.
Cam Ward made 21 saves in the win. He played in back-to-back games for the first time in a month.
Ward kept Montreal at bay as the Hurricanes rallied.
"This can be the period that turns the season around," Muller said of the third period.
"(The penalties) take all the momentum away that we got," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "When you end up losing the momentum, it is tough to get it back.
"As the coach, I am responsible for the discipline of my team, and I will make sure it won't happen again."
Lars Eller and Pacioretty scored in the opening eight minutes, and the Hurricanes failed on their first seven power plays in the first 35 minutes.
Montreal dropped to 2/3 with one game remaining on a six-game road trip. The Canadiens failed to score during a power play that lasted the final 3:56 of regulation.
Pacioretty has a team-high 17 goals, including eight in December. His first of the night was Montreal's first of the power play in five games.
Eller, scoreless in the previous 11 games, scored 1:20 into the game from in front of Ward.
Trailing 2-0, the Hurricanes were denied on a brief 5-on-3 power play.
Pacioretty scored again to put the Canadiens ahead 3-0.
The Canadiens will complete their trip on Thursday at Dallas. . Carolina captain Eric Staal played in his 730th game with the Hurricanes, the most of any player since the franchise relocated from Hartford, Conn. He moved in front of former defenseman Glen Wesley. . The Hurricanes recalled G Anton Khudobin from a conditioning stint with the Charlotte (AHL). He didn't play in the game.