Canadiens beat Sens for 4th in row

March 13, 2013

It was Lars Eller's turn to shine for the Montreal Canadiens.

Eller scored in the first period and added the decisive goal in a shootout as the Canadiens stretched their winning streak to four games with a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.

Eller had been Montreal's best and hardest-working player all night, and he came through with the winning goal after Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk and Ottawa's Jakob Silfverberg traded goals during the first two rounds of the shootout.

''You want that chance to win it for your team, you want that responsibility, so it feels good right now,'' said Eller, who had seven of Montreal's 45 shots on goalie Robin Lehner in regulation and overtime.

''It's good for this team that we can win all types of games. We can defend leads, we can catch up if we're behind. We won in a shootout this time. It's good for the team's confidence.''

Brendan Gallagher and P.K. Subban had power play-goals in the second period for Montreal (18-5-4), which remained in first place in the Eastern Conference despite some loose play in its first home game after a five-game trip.

Mika Zibanejad and Daniel Alfredsson had power-play goals for Ottawa (13-8-6), and Patrick Wiercioch also scored for the Senators, who are 1-2-4 in their last seven.

In the shootout, Eller used a drag move and lifted the puck over Lehner to put Montreal ahead. Carey Price then stopped Kyle Turris to end the game.

It was the third time in five games that Lehner was beaten in a shootout.

''I can't seem to find a way in the shootout, and I'm a little tired of the one-point games,'' said the 21-year-old Swede. ''Our guys are playing their hearts out and they deserve the two points.

''It feels good in the regular game and the overtime, but when it comes to the shootout, right now I'm not there. It's another speed. It's not the AHL anymore. It's something I've got to work on because it's not working now.''

There was disappointment that forward Kaspars Daugavins wasn't picked as one of Ottawa's three shooters. He was the talk of the NHL for his failed shootout attempt in a 3-2 loss to Boston on Monday when he skated in with the puck pinned on the end of his stick and then made a turnaround move.

Senators coach Paul MacLean said Daugavins would have been his fourth shooter if needed and that the player ''had something special again'' in mind for his attempt. He never got the chance to use it.

Both teams earned two wins in the four-game season series.

Wiercioch, a rookie defenseman, scored his third goal in five games to tie it 3-3. Wiercioch had no goals in his first 26 NHL games.

With a goal and an assist, Subban has points on Montreal's last nine power-play goals.

The Canadiens opened the scoring as recent call-up Gabriel Dumont earned his first NHL point as he worked the puck from behind the net to Eller, who lifted it over Lehner at 7:02 of the first period.

An Ottawa power play was nearly over when Silfverberg made a crisp pass from a crowd in the corner to Zibanejad, who beat Price with a quick wrist shot to tie it at 10:26.

Max Pacioretty skated in off the boards and slipped a shot between Lehner's pads 6:40 into the second, and Subban scored from the point on a shot that hit Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips in front at 17:21.

Time was about to expire in the second period when Alfredsson aimed a shot over Price's shoulder that hit the camera inside the net and bounced out. Video replay confirmed the goal at 19:58.

Wiercioch tied it 1:50 into the third when he moved across the blue line, put a move on Andrei Markov and scored on a wrist shot from the slot that beat Price between the legs.

The Canadiens were coming off a road trip in which they earned eight of a possible 10 points. It was their eighth straight game with at least three goals.

''I don't think we played our best game tonight,'' Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges said. ''But we did good things when we had to.

''We cycled the puck in the offensive zone and got pucks in front of the net. I think we were sloppy at times, though. Our penalty killing has to be better. We got loose in a few areas. But coming back after a long trip, we did what we had to do to get the two points.''

NOTES: The banged-up Senators are still without Craig Anderson, Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Jared Cowan and Milan Michalek. Peter Regin was scratched. ... UFC star Georges St-Pierre got a big ovation when he dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff. ... The Montreal Impact's new Swiss coach, Marco Schallibaum, attended the game. The Canadiens' Swiss players, Rafael Diaz and Yannick Weber, are both out with injuries. ... Following the game, the Canadiens returned D Greg Pateryn to Hamilton of the AHL.