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Senators hold off Canadiens’ late surge to earn 3-2 victory

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators are looking to take what they can get, however it comes.

Ottawa survived a late rally from the Montreal Canadiens and picked up its third straight win with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night. The win also put the Senators at .500 on home ice (8-8-0).

“We’ll take any win at this point,” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “You’ve just got to keep clawing and scratching and clawing and grab as many points as you can and hope you get some guys back and keep this thing going.”

Shane Pinto, Drake Batherson and Brady Tkachuk scored for Ottawa (13-14-2), while Alex DeBrincat had three assists. Cam Talbot made 23 saves.

“Obviously they had a good push at the end, but we stay with it,” said Pinto. “Talbot made some good saves and we just stay calm, as much as we could. I know it got a little hectic there, but we got two points so that’s all that matters.”

The Canadian Tire Centre was electric with 19,567 in attendance, but it was often hard to tell who was the home team with numerous Montreal fans on hand.

“When you get both sets of fans in the building, it goes both ways,” admitted Talbot. “It’s pretty fun … these close knit rivalries are always good to be a part of and happy to come out on the winning end of this one.”

The Canadiens (14-13-2) rallied with a pair of third-period goals from Kirby Dach and Christian Dvorak, but were unable to score the equalizer. Sam Montembeault stopped 28 shots.

In many ways, the Canadiens were their own worst enemy taking five minor penalties in the second, with the Senators capitalizing on two of them.

“Our discipline kind of slipped away in the second,” said Dach, who took a double minor late in the period. “I felt like 5-on-5, we were playing our game, we had control. … I obviously take ownership with the penalties I took. The timing of them wasn’t the best.”

“We were just on the penalty kill the whole period,” Dvorak added. “So, it’s tough when you’re doing that.”

Trailing 3-0 in the third, the Canadiens finally solved Talbot at 8:05 of the period, sending the partisan Montreal crowd into a frenzy. Dach glided into the slot and buried a goal off a Jake Evans pass.

The Canadiens made it a one-goal game when Dvorak beat Talbot on a delayed penalty call at 13:12 of the third.

Heading into the second period, the Senators trailed the Canadiens 10-6 in shots. But after 40 minutes, Ottawa not only held a 23-13 edge in shots, but a 3-0 lead.

Montembeault robbed Pinto on a point-blank shot, but moments later, the Senators forward took a great feed from Nikita Zaitsev and scored off the post 1:28 into the second.

Batherson made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 5:41 of the frame, when he scored through his own legs in front of the net. Tkachuk added Ottawa’s second power-play marker when he tipped home a DeBrincat pass just over two minutes later.

“I didn’t even know it was between the legs until the replay,” said Batherson. “I’ll take it any way they can come though.”

DeBrincat picked up primary assists on all three Ottawa goals to extend his point streak to seven games (three goals, seven assists). Batherson, meanwhile, pushed his point streak to six games (three goals, five assists).

The Canadiens dominated the opening ten minutes of the contest, but couldn’t find a way to beat Talbot.

Montreal head coach Martin St. Louis was visibly frustrated with the start his team had.

“We should have come out of the first with a solid lead,” he said.


Jacob Lucchini made his NHL debut Wednesday night. The 27-year-old got the experience of taking a rookie lap during warmups. He spent two years with the Laval Rocket, Montreal’s farm team in the AHL.

NOTES: The Senators will be without Tim Stutzle for at least a week as he recovers from a shoulder contusion after being hit by the Ducks’ Brett Leason on Monday night. The news wasn’t as good for Tyler Motte as he went down hard Monday and is expected to miss at least a week with an undisclosed upper body injury … Jonathan Drouin returned to Montreal’s lineup after missing 13 games with an upper-body injury.


The Senators head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings Saturday afternoon, while Montreal will host the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2022.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press