Pageau’s first of season helps Senators get past Canadiens
The Ottawa Senators need more nights like this if they expect to make a playoff push.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored his first goal of the season to help lead the Senators past the Montreal Canadiens 4-1.
"We’ve got to take care of business at home," said goaltender Craig Anderson, who has allowed two goals or less in eight of his last 10 starts. "The teams that are in the playoffs right now have got really good home records. For us, we’ve got to win some games and put some pressure on the teams in front of us."
Mika Zibanejad, Erik Karlsson and Erik Condra also scored for the Senators. Anderson stopped 25 shots in his 399th game.
Max Pacioretty scored the lone goal for the Canadiens as Dustin Tokarski turned away 31 of 34 shots.
It marked the Senators’ first home game since returning from a four-game road trip, where Ottawa went 1-2-1 and looked motivated from the start right through the final buzzer.
"We had the jump," Anderson said. "Montreal played and travelled. We had the fresher legs. We were able to capitalize and play hard and make it hard for them to attack our net. We didn’t give them a whole lot."
The Canadiens acknowledged they were far from their best. Seven forwards finished the game without a shot on goal and coach Michel Therrien said that’s just not acceptable.
"We need contributions from more than one line," Therrien said. "Right now, we only have contributions from one line and that’s not good enough."
The Canadiens had played the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night and travelled right after the game. While they don’t want to use the back-to-back as an excuse, they felt it definitely had an impact.
"It is tough, I’m not going to deny it," Therrien said. "The back-to-back is not easy. You’re looking around the NHL, it’s tough to be back-to-back on the road, but when we got our legs going it was too late."
Holding a 3-1 lead to open the third period, the Senators were determined not to make the same mistake they did in Dallas two nights earlier when they squandered a two-goal lead and lost.
Ottawa played a sound defensive game and kept things simple as the Canadiens did their best to rally.
The Senators were up 3-1 after the opening 20 minutes and, despite playing much of the second period short-handed and being outshot 14-7, were able to maintain the lead. Ottawa took four minor penalties in the second and if not for the play of Anderson and the fact the Canadiens power play has been less than stellar this season, things could have changed very quickly.
Zibanejad opened the scoring at 1:09 of the opening period as he beat Tokarski from in close short side.
Pacioretty tied it at the 14-minute mark as he beat Anderson short side after taking a pass at center ice. Ottawa’s Jared Cowen got a stick on the puck, but rather than pushing it away put it right back on Pacioretty’s stick. Pacioretty has a career-high six-game goal streak.
Ottawa regained the lead when Pageau banged home Milan Michalek’s rebound.
"This one felt really good," said Pageau, who scored three goals against Montreal in Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. "It was my first one this year. It takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I was really happy to score.
"I celebrated like it was my 15th goal of the season, but it was only my first. I’m very happy to put this behind me."
Karlsson made it 3-1 early in the first period to put an end to a 15-game scoring drought as he beat Tokarski with a slap shot and Condra added a goal into an empty net in the final minute.
Montreal had won its last four games against Ottawa going back to last season.
The Senators are back in action Saturday night against Carolina, while Montreal will host the New York Islanders.
NOTES: D Chris Phillips and C Colin Greening were a healthy scratch. C Zack Smith (wrist), RW Chris Neil (knee) D Mark Borowiecki (leg) all remain sidelined for the Senators. … Montreal C David Desharnais played his 300th NHL game. … D Mike Weaver and LW Christian Thomas were a healthy scratch for Montreal.