Game 14: Kovalev’s pair buries Canadiens

Canadiens goalie Carey Price keep a close eye on a bouncing puck.
Shaun Best, Reuters

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• At a Glance: The Canadiens returned home from their 3-2
Friday night victory over the Sabres in Buffalo,
hoping to win their ninth game in 14 matches. But then, they hadn’t counted on
former Hab Alex Kovalev bringing his A game to the Bell Centre. Kovalev scored
twice, bringing him to within three points of the 1,000 mark, to carry the
Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 win over Montreal.
Kovalev, voted the game’s first star, got the visitors on the scoreboard first with a shot that glanced in
off him at 17:50 of the first period, eluding the stop of the 28-save Carey
Price in the Habs net. Then Zack Smith, called up from Binghamton earlier in the day, made it 2-0 at
12:15 of the second. The Senators’ checking, and the Canadiens inability to
mount much in the way of offence, didn’t augur well for the home team. But
Jaroslav Spacek finally beat Brian Elliott with a slapper from the blue line at
18:39, his first goal of the season a shot tipped in by an Ottawa defender. Kovalev made it 3-1 at 6:42
of the third with Spacek serving a minor for interference before Canadiens captain Brian
Gionta bagged his long-awaited second of the year at 15:53 to close out the
scoring.

• Key Moments: Bad, untimely penalties taken by the undisciplined Canadiens killed any momentum they night have generated. And Senators goalie Elliott was solid
throughout, making 21 saves to improve Ottawa’s
record to 7-6-1.

• What It Means: The Canadiens are now 8-5-1, their home
record at 3-3-1. Montreal has lost three of its last four games and is struggling offensively, having scored just five goals in those four.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens are home Tuesday to the
Vancouver Canucks, head to Boston for a Thursday date against Tim Thomas’s
Boston Bruins, then finish up their week next Saturday at the Bell Centre
against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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