Canadiens centreman Tomas Plekanec congratulates goalie Carey Price following Montreal’s 4-1 Bell Centre win Tuesday night.
Allen McInnis, Gazette
Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern was asked to play a larger role after centre Scott Gomez left the game with a lower-body injury, and the veteran met the challenge, scoring the game-winning goal in the Canadiens’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Halpern snapped a 1-1 deadlock when linemate Maxim Lapierre forced a turnover and sent Halpern into the clear. He gained a step on Senators defenceman Chris Campoli and showed great patience as he waited for Pascal Leclaire to go down before he lifted the puck over the goaltender at 2:18 of the third period.
Montreal played the last half of the game without Gomez, who suffered a lower-body injury on his first shift of the second period and left for treatment. He came back for one more shift and then shut it down for the evening.
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said Gomez’s condition will be evaluated Wednesday.
Canadiens captain Brian Gionta added an insurance goal at 10:01 of
the third period when he poked the puck away from Ottawa defenceman
Filip Kuba in the Canadiens’ zone and beat Leclaire with a shot off the
rush. It was his ninth goal of the season and he tied Tomas Plekanec,
Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn for the team lead.
also picked up an assist when Roman Hamrlik knocked the puck into the
net after it bounced off the helmet of goaltender Brian Elliott, who
came in when Leclaire left the game briefly with a skate problem.
was the third win in a row for the Canadiens, who are third in the
Eastern Conference with 38 points, and it was goaltender Carey Price’s
league-leading 17th win. Price made 27 saves.
For the Senators, it was their ninth loss in their last 12 games.
Canadiens dominated the first period, but Ottawa escaped with a 1-1 tie
when Nick Foligno scored on a power play with nine seconds left in the
frame. Foligno took a cross-ice pass from centre Jason Spezza and beat
Price with a 30-foot shot along the ice.
The Canadiens, who outshot
the Senators 13-6, also took advantage of a power play for their goal.
Leclaire made a stop on 15-footer by Cammalleri, but Cammalleri scored
on the rebound of his own shot at 9:09 for his ninth goal of the season.
team was able to score in the second period as Montreal squandered a
golden opportunity when Chris Kelly was assessed a major penalty for
pushing Yannick Weber’s head into the boards. The Canadiens’ best
scoring chance came late in the power play, but Leclaire stopped
Alexandre Picard’s shot from the blue-line and then thwarted Roman
Hamrlik on the rebound.
The Canadiens’ ineffectiveness on the power
play drew some boos and there were chants for rookie defenceman P.K.
Subban, who was a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.