Ottawa’s Filip Kuba celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the Canadiens.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images
• Audio: To come
• At A Glance: The second-last regular-season game for the Canadiens was going into the books as being… their second-last game of the regular season. But a good final few minutes took Game 81 into overtime against the Ottawa Senators, the home team’s Filip Kuba spoiling Habs head coach Jacques Martin’s bid for his 600th career win with the game-winner in a 3-2 decision. Canadiens captain Brian Gionta opened the scoring with his 27th of the season and first in nine games, banging in a rebound at 13:12 of the second period. Ottawa’s Jason Spezza spoiled Alex Auld’s shutout bid 36 seconds into the third when the Habs gave their host the entire rink down low, Spezza finally coming out from behind the net to stuff in the equalizer. Bobby Butler took a fine pass from Spezza and undressed Habs defenceman Hal Gill to whip a high wrister past Auld at 17:11. Michael Cammalleri sent it to overtime with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation, rifling home a short-range shot on a terrific cross-ice pass from Andrei Kostitsyn. Kuba’s OT winner came at 1:16 on a long, low shot from just inside the Habs blue line through a bit of a maze.
• Stupidity At Its Finest: Ottawa’s Francis Lessard, with zero points but 63 penalty minutes in 23 games this season, was given a major and game misconduct 2:23 into the third after drilling Habs’ Tom Pyatt head-first from behind into the end boards; you’d like to think there’s a disciplinary hearing coming for that. Pyatt had his mandatory time out for examination and returned.
• Key Moments: Cammalleri’s late goal gave the Habs hope for a win, at least briefly.
• What It Means: The Habs remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with one game left on their calendar. Combined with the Rangers’ defeat in New York, the Canadiens can finish no lower than seventh and no higher than sixth, which means they’ll avoid a first-round date against the East’s top seed. Montreal’s first-round playoff opponent won’t be known before the weekend.
• What’s Next: Only the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre. Then, preparation for the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.