Habs score 20,000th goal

Pascal Leclaire and the Ottawa Senators came back strong after
allowing the Montreal Canadiens’ 20,000th goal.

Leclaire made 29 saves and Chris Neil scored Ottawa’s third
unanswered goal 6:15 into the third period as the Senators ended
Montreal’s four-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory Monday
night.

Neil tipped a floating rebound of Mike Fisher’s shot into the
net behind Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak.

“I think it went off Milan (Michalek) up in the air and then
when I came in, I whacked it in,” Neil said. “I had to wait for it
to come down, too.”

A lengthy video review supported referee Bill McCreary’s ruling
that Neil had not made contact with the puck above the level of the
crossbar.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” said Halak, who was
selected the NHL’s First Star of the Week earlier in the day. “I
knew I stopped the first shot and then I didn’t know where the puck
was, and unfortunately for us it ended up in the net – too bad it
wasn’t a high stick.”

Mike Cammalleri scored the Canadiens’ 20,000th regular-season
goal to open the scoring in the first and Benoit Pouliot got his
first Montreal goal to make it 2-0 midway through the opening
period.

Peter Regin had a goal and an assist and Ryan Shannon and Chris
Campoli also scored for Ottawa, which won its second in a row as
Leclaire came up with a strong outing in his third straight start
since returning from a broken cheekbone.

“(Leclaire) played great,” Fisher said. “He made a number of
big stops and had a great game for us and kept us in it. If it
wasn’t for him, especially after that first period, we would have
been down by more than a few.”

Halak, who made his fifth straight start, made 24 saves after
facing an average of 46.5 shots during Montreal’s winning
streak.

Shannon drew Ottawa even at 2 with a power-play goal 15:33 into
the second. Regin picked up his second point of the game with an
assist on the play after he got the Senators back into the game
with his fourth goal at 12:48 of the first.

“We played a great 10 minutes, the first 10 minutes of the
game, and then we stopped skating and started taking bad
penalties,” Halak said. “You can’t win the game sitting in the
penalty box.”

Ottawa did not take a penalty, while Montreal was called for
five minors.

“I think the key tonight, we played pretty disciplined,”
Leclaire said.

Cammalleri got the milestone 20,000th goal when he opened the
scoring at 4:59, finishing off a fine passing play initiated by
Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn with a shot from the slot into a
wide open net for his team-leading 19th goal.

“I’m the kind of guy who likes the romantic aspect of hockey,”
said Cammalleri, who signed a five-year contract with the Canadiens
as a free agent on July 1. “I’m glad I could be a part of this
organization and this is extremely special.”

The 20,000-goal total includes all of Montreal’s regular-season
goals since joining the NHL as a founding member in 1917, as well
as the Canadiens’ regular-season goals from their first eight
seasons in the National Hockey Association, the NHL’s
predecessor.

Pouliot made it a two-goal lead with his third goal at 9:50, his
first with Montreal since he was acquired in a trade with
Minnesota.

Regin drew the Senators within 2-1 with his fourth goal at
12:48, moments after the huge contingent of Canadiens fans began
chanting “Go Habs, Go!”

Leclaire kept Ottawa within a goal with several big stops,
particularly late in the opening period.

“We scored that goal and that kind of gave us a little momentum
and we had a hockey game,” Leclaire said. “I felt pretty good
today. Since I came back, I’ve been feeling good in front of my
net. I had a few bounces go my way, too, a post and a couple of
bounces that kind of rolled but it’s one of those nights where
things were going well so we’ll take it.”

The Senators’ goalie made a huge glove save on Pouliot just
moments after he turned aside Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez,
containing a line that accounted for 10 of Montreal’s 13
first-period shots.

“You’ve got to give credit to Leclaire, for sure,” Pouliot
said. “We had a lot of good chances and he came up big for
them.”

Shannon tied it 15:33 into the second when he scored off a
faceoff win by Regin in the Canadiens’ zone, five seconds after
Jaroslav Spacek was sent off for tripping.

The Senators had a potential go-ahead goal by Fisher disallowed
with 24.9 seconds left in the second. Referee Kerry Fraser
immediately waved off the goal, ruling that Neil was in the crease
and made incidental contact with Halak.

Campoli scored into an empty net with 46 seconds remaining.