Game 16: Senators rally 3-1 over Canadiens

Cristobal Huet eyeballs a flying puck.
Christopher Pike, Reuters

UPDATED with link to Pat Hickey’s game story

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This one had all the makings of a great game, which too often winds up spelling dull with a capital D.

But who knew we’d witness playoff-quality hockey on a Saturday afternoon … in November?

The scoreboard showed a final of 3-1 in favour of the Ottawa Senators
over the Canadiens at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa-suburban Kanata. But the victory was shared by any fan who invested their afternoon in this one.

Ottawa’s Chris Neil surprised Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet with an unassisted wrist shot from the deep slot at 16:30 to give the Senators the victory. An insurance goal was scored into an empty net in the dying seconds by captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has put four of his 13 goals this season into an empty net.

The Senators outshot their visitors 37-29.

The quite terrific Canadiens, now 9-4-3 who were 7-1-1 in their last nine games, and the remarkable 14-2-0 Senators, their eight-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, engaged in something pretty classic. We might not see something this good for months.

Alfredsson, stoned a period earlier by Huet on a penalty shot, drove
home the tying goal from the deep slot at 14:50 of the third, his 12th of the season. Huet, who’d played out of his mind again, didn’t have a chance on the setup by Ottawa’s Dany Heatley and Mike Fisher.

Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov had scored his fifth of the season on a first-period power-play blast past Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber at 11:11, assisted by captain Saku Koivu and Michael Ryder with the Senators’ Neil serving a minor for delay of game.

From this intense game, the Canadiens now move into Toronto for their third in a four-game road trip, meeting the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, having opened up Thursday in Boston with a 2-1 victory over the Bruins. The trip ends Friday in Buffalo.


Photos from today’s game, from top:

Canadiens’ Christopher Higgins (21) and Ottawa’s Chris Phillips crowd the crease of goalie Martin Gerber as Montreal defenceman Andrei Markov’s goal finds the Ottawa net.
Christopher Pike, Reuters

Higgins fights off Phillips an instant before Markov scored his first-period goal.
Andrei Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet makes a glove save with Senators’ Antoine Vermette on his doorstep, looking for the rebound.
Christopher Pike, Reuters

Canadiens’ Michael Ryder (left) and captain Saku Koivu celebrate Markov’s first-period goal.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Canadiens’ Tom Kostopoulos (left) and Mike Komisarek (prone) strip Ottawa’s Dany Heatley of the puck.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Heatley prepares to shoot past Komisarek.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Markov works Heatley along the boards.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

Huet keeps a close eye on a flying puck.
Christopher Pike, Reuters

From left: Kostopoulos, Heatley, Komisarek and Vermette are at close quarters chasing a loose puck.
Christopher Pike, Reuters

Senators’ Chris Neil celebrates his game-winning goal, with Huet on the seat of his pants and Francis Bouillon and Michael Ryder skating away.
Christopher Pike, Reuters

Huet stops Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson on a second-period penalty shot. Alfredsson would have the last laugh, scoring twice in the third period in a first-star performance.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

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