Ottawa got on the board quickly, just over a minute into the first period, when Mika Zibanejad wristed home a rebound after a nice set play off the draw, to put the Sens up by one. Things stayed that way until the 15 minute mark, when a bad pinch at the blue line by Cody Ceci was compounded by a lunging Jared Cowen, who inadvertently slowed the puck down for a streaking Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty snapped a rolling puck five-hole on Craig Anderson to tie things up. However, two minutes later Jean-Gabriel Pageau put a rebound past Dustin Tokarski after a goalmouth scramble. For Pageau it must have come as a relief. It was his first goal of the season and first in over a year at the NHL level. It was a fantastic, dominant period from the Senators. They looked good at even strength and on the powerplay. Ottawa outshot Montreal 20-6 in the frame and went into the intermission leading 2-1.
Montreal was much better in the second period, outshooting the Senators 14-7 in the frame. Part of that was the result of Montreal's four powerplays to Ottawa's one in the second. Still, the Senators managed to extend the lead to two because of the captain's first goal in the under Dave Cameron. Early in the second, Erik Karlsson wired a slapshot past Tokarski to make it 3-1. Montreal had several good chances to cut down on Ottawa's lead, but Andy was up to the task. One of the highlights of the period was a thunderous check on Alex Galchenyuk by Bobby Ryan, showing a physical side to his game which has been more apparent the last few weeks.
Ottawa had a few good chances to start the third as Karlsson led a rush with the line of Pageau, Milan Michalek, and Mark Stone and spent a considerable amount of time in the Canadiens' zone. Montreal had some good pressure after that initial wave, but an Ottawa powerplay midway through the period gave the Sens a chance to add to the lead. The Sens didn't score, but managed to control the game for the rest of the period, adding an empty net goal, courtesy of Erik Condra, to win 4-1. Shots 35-26 in favour of Ottawa.
Sens Hero: Craig Anderson
He didn't face a lot of shots by 2014-15 Sens standards, but Andy was on top of things tonight, turning aside 25 of 26 shots faced for a 96.2 SV%. He was especially good in the second period when Montreal had four powerplays and played its best hockey of the night.
Sens Hero: Jean Gabriel Pageau
Huge night for Pageau. He's been playing well of late, but not catching any breaks. Well that changed against the Canadiens. He scored his first goal of the season to regain the lead for the Sens and he assisted on Karlsson's goal. He had several good scoring chances, including a few breakaway chances by utilizing his speed (probably should have drawn a couple penalties too).
Sens Hero: Milan Michalek
There hasn't been much to love about Michalek's game this season. It's tough watching a once useful player physically decline so rapidly. But tonight, Michalek turned back the clock a little and put in one of his best performances of the season. He was rewarded with two assists.
Honourable Mention: Mika Zibanejad
Zibanejad potted the first goal of the game and had three shots on goal to go along with some of the best possession numbers on the team tonight.
Honourable Mention: Bobby Ryan
He made an excellent pass to Mike Hoffman to help set up Ottawa's first goal, had four shots, and was a physical presence tonight (including one very big hit). He's been playing some of his best hockey as a Senator under Dave Cameron and tonight's complete effort was another reminder of that.
Dishonourable Mention: Jared Cowen and Cody Ceci
They both contributed to Montreal's lone goal, though more of the blame should fall on Ceci. While the Sens gave up just one goal, Cowen and Ceci continued to look overmatched. Cowen in particular, seemed to have a difficult time handling the speed and skill of Max Pacioretty.
Shot chart via ESPN:
Game Flow via Natural Stat Trick:
Highlights via NHL.com: