For a team ravaged by injuries, the loss of top goalie Craig Anderson seemed to strike the final blow for the Ottawa Senators.
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Enter Ben Bishop.
Bishop turned aside 44 shots in regulation and overtime and Peter Regin scored in the fifth round of the shootout, lifting the Senators to a season-best fifth straight win with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.
The victory was the second in as many starts for Bishop, who took over three games ago after Anderson was knocked out against the New York Rangers last Thursday with a sprained ankle.
”It was all Bishop,” said Senators coach Paul MacLean, whose team was outshot 45-24 and outplayed for long stretches. ”I thought (Montreal) really skated well and really cut us off and didn’t give us an opportunity to do very much and Ben was outstanding in the net.
”For the most part I thought they dominated the rink for most of the game but we would bend and we would bend but we wouldn’t break. One of the strengths of our organization right now is goaltending and we’ve been leaning on it quite a bit.”
Jakob Silfverberg also scored in the shootout for Ottawa, while David Desharnais replied for Montreal.
After Regin gave the Senators the lead in the shootout with a goal that sent Montreal goalie Carey Price spinning to the ice, Bishop stopped Tomas Plekanec for his fourth win of the season.
”There were a lot of shots so it was easy to stay in the game and keep that rhythm up,” Bishop said. ”I thought the guys did a good job in front of me. Andy is playing so well so whenever I get a chance to get in there I just want to hold up my end of the deal and give the team a chance to win.”
Minus a number of regulars, including defenseman Erik Karlsson (lacerated Achilles) and center Jason Spezza (back surgery), the Senators have still found a way to grind out wins.
Regin had a chance to end the game late in overtime his slap shot from the high slot rang off the post behind Price, who finished with 23 saves.
Dave Dziurzynski scored in regulation for the Senators, while Andrei Markov had a goal for the Canadiens.
Dziurzynski’s goal came from the top of the faceoff circle off the rush on a shot Price should have handled with ease at 6:49 of the second.
The Canadiens finally solved Bishop with their 30th shot when Markov ripped a point shot on the power play with just 4 seconds remaining in the period.
”The result was not on our side and the story of the game was that Bishop was outstanding,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. ”I liked the way we played. We dictated the play, we played hard, we were aggressive on the puck and we did a lot of good things.”
Tied 1-1 after two periods, the score stayed that way through the third and into overtime, which started 3-on-3 because of penalties. Ottawa got one skater back and enjoyed a brief power play before Kyle Turris was sent off for hooking. It was back to 3-on-3 before the Canadiens got their fourth power play of the game, but Montreal couldn’t get the puck past Bishop.
The teams played to a scoreless first period, although the Canadiens did have the best opportunity with Max Pacioretty hitting the post behind Bishop. That was the beginning of the Canadiens’ assault on the posts. Erik Cole rang a shot of the crossbar in the second before Raphael Diaz hit the post to the right of Bishop.
”It was one of those nights,” Therrien said. ”The story of the game was their goalie and he deserved a lot of credit for that win.”
Notes: The Canadiens were in first place on Feb. 25 for the first time since 1993, the year they last won the Stanley Cup. … Canadiens D Francis Bouillon played his 500th game with Montreal. He has played 695 total games in the NHL. … Entering Monday’s game Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson had 420 career goals. The rest of the Senators lineup a combined 524. … After scoring four goals in his first four games, Senators F Kyle Turris has now gone 16 without a goal.