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


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


“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


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


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


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


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


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.