OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) The Senators needed a big effort from their top players Saturday night, and they got it.
Craig Anderson stopped 28 shots for his 40th career shutout, leading Ottawa to a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL 100 Classic outdoor game. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Bobby Ryan and Nate Thompson scored to help the Senators get consecutive wins for the first time in more than a month.
”We knew we needed to have a good game,” said captain Erik Karlsson, who had one assists while playing a season-high 32:55. ”We didn’t know what to expect, what type of game it was going to be, but I think we came out strong and we finished strong. I don’t think we strayed from the kind of game that needed to be played in an atmosphere like this.”
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The Senators capped off a weekend of festivities with an impressive win, controlled the game from the start.
Carey Price was kept busy as he stopped 35 shots for the Canadiens, but didn’t get any offensive support. Montreal failed to take advantage of an Ottawa team that had been struggling of late and the Canadiens know this was a missed opportunity.
”We know where we are in the standings, we know it’s a division game and it doesn’t matter the hype, doesn’t matter the outside noise,” captain Max Pacioretty said. ”We didn’t play a strong game and that never feels good.”
The temperature at puck drop was about 12 degrees and dropped throughout the game to -13 with wind chill. Despite the frigid temperatures 33,959 fans filled the stands at TD Place for the first outdoor game for the current Ottawa franchise. The game was part of the NHL’s 100th anniversary celebration.
”I think that’s the coldest I’ve ever been,” Ryan said. ”The fans came out and made it a heck of a night by being loud and being engaged and when the home team gets two points and the city can rally around it for a great event makes it all the better.
”It was worth every second of it. We had a blast.”
Trailing 1-0 heading into the third, the Canadiens pushed a little harder but had very few scoring chances aside from one where Philip Danault slid his shot through the crease.
With just under three minutes to go in the third, Jonathan Drouin had a giveaway in his own zone and Ryan made the most of it, breaking in alone and beating Price to extend the Senators’ lead to 2-0. It was Ryan’s second goal in two games and he says he finally feels like his game is turning around since breaking his index finger in October.
Thompson added an empty-netter with 10 seconds left.
The Senators continued to dominate the pace of play in the second and were finally rewarded at with 5:05 left as Pageau tipped Karlsson’s point shot to get Ottawa on the board. Pageau now has eight career goals against the Canadiens.
”To score that goal was pretty special,” said Pageau, a Quebec native. ”When I scored that goal and your goalie doesn’t give one it makes it easier. I think we played a really solid game and obviously when the atmosphere’s that loud the energy level is always up.”
Ottawa tested Price earlier in the period as well when Mike Hoffman had three shots on an early power play, and Matt Duchene had a great chance only to see the Montreal goalie make a blocker save.
A scoreless first period saw the Senators outshoot the Canadiens 15-8.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were on hand for the festivities. Trudeau was seen shaking hands with the Senators as they made their way to the ice.
Canadiens great Guy Lafleur and former Ottawa star Daniel Alfredsson dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff.
NOTES: Ottawa LW Nick Paul was a healthy scratch. … D Joe Morrow and LW Jacob De La Rose sat out for Montreal.
Canadiens: At Vancouver on Tueseday night in the second of a stretch of seven straight road games to close the month.