Game file: Senators at Canadiens II

Brian Elliott won the goalie duel with Carey Price. Pretty much every one of the 54 shots recorded in this game was a Grade A scoring chance, with both teams using their speed to create turnovers and manufacture scoring chances.

Game file: Senators at Canadiens II

WHY THE SENATORS WON

Brian Elliott won the goalie duel with Carey Price. Pretty much every one of the 54 shots recorded in this game was a Grade A scoring chance, with both teams using their speed to create turnovers and manufacture scoring chances out of otherwise harmless-looking rushes. Elliott had a spectacular first period, highlighted by a point-blank glove save on Brian Gionta. Price responded in the second, robbing Jarkko Ruutu with the stick and Chris Kelly with the glove on the same shift to keep his team in it. Both goalies deserved to win this one.

STUD

Zack Smith, Senators

What a whirlwind weekend for the youngster. After taking a major penalty in the opening minutes of Thursday’s win over the Islanders (but avoiding supplementary discipline and the doghouse), Smith headed straight for Montreal to play for the Senators’ AHL affiliate at the Bell Centre Friday. He returned to the same ice surface with the big club 24 hours later to pot his second goal in four career games against the Canadiens. Phew!

DUD

Scott Gomez, Canadiens

The Habs’ highest-paid player ($7,357,143 this season) continued his abysmal start Saturday night. He failed to notch a point for the seventh straight game despite some desperate line-juggling from coach Jacques Martin and has just one goal and two assists so far. The worst part? He’s on the books for three more years after this one.

GAME CHANGER

The Canadiens, who entered the night as the fifth-least penalized team in the NHL, were on a first-name basis with the penalty box attendant by the end of it. To their credit, they completely shut down the Senators on the first four power play opportunities. The roof finally caved in on the fifth, however, as Ottawa scored to make it 3-1 and earn some much-needed breathing room.

YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

…Alex Kovalev’s fourth goal of the season — the officials did. It came on the tail end of the type of shift that drives Senators fans nuts, because it showed what the Russian could accomplish if he put his mind to it. Kovalev moved his legs and kept he puck on a string, eventually giving it up and moving to the front of the net. Erik Karlsson then blasted a shot from the point that AK27 got just enough of to fool Carey Price. Karlsson got credit for the goal, but it was changed during the intermission. Kovalev finished with six shots and notched the aforementioned insurance goal in the third.

KEY NUMBERS

— 1: Senators wins in three tries against Montreal this season
— 3-5: Ottawa’s steadily improving record against Northeast Division teams.
— 2: Assists for Peter Regin in his 100th NHL game.
— 5: Wins in the Senators’ last six contests.

HEAVY LEGS

For a team that played on the road the night before (a 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres), the Canadiens sure didn’t look tired in the first period. They matched Ottawa chance for chance and shot for shot (8-8) and could have easily taken the early lead. The fatigue appeared to set in as the game went on, however, as they were outshot 17-6 in the second period and their late rally fizzled in the dying seconds of the game. There will probably be a few Habs sleeping in late on Sunday.

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