Erik Brannstrom had three assists for his first career multi-point game, Shane Pinto scored his first NHL goal and the streaking Ottawa Senators stalled Montreal’s playoff charge with a 5-1 win Wednesday.
The Canadiens entered the contest looking for their first four-game winning streak of the season after reeling off three straight come-from-behind victories.
Montreal’s penchant for playing with fire bit the club this time, however, as the speedy and determined Senators controlled much of the play and put the Habs away in the third period.
Joel Edmundson had the goal for the Canadiens (24-19-9), who entered the game tied on points with third-place Winnipeg in the North Division. The Jets, who played Calgary later Wednesday, were ahead in the standings with one more regulation win.
Anton Forsberg, who signed a one-year, $900,000 US extension earlier Wednesday, made 30 saves for the Senators.
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Jake Allen made 29 saves for the Canadiens.
It was the last meeting of the season between the rivals, with Ottawa finishing 6-3-1 against the Habs.
Pinto opened the scoring at 11:35 of the first period. The Senators were rewarded for some strong forechecking by getting possession of the puck, and Pinto was in a great position to collect the rebound of an Artem Zub shot and put the puck past Allen.
The Senators almost doubled their lead shortly after when Allen was caught way out of position after an aggressive move to catch the puck went wrong, but he was able to recover an dive into the path of Chris Tierney’s shot.
Edmundson tied the game with 32 seconds left in the first period when he beat Forsberg on the short side following a face-off win. Nick Suzuki picked up an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (four goals, seven assists)
Paul put Ottawa up 3-1 with just eight seconds left in the second period when he tipped Brannstrom’s shot past Allen.
Brown added to Ottawa’s lead with his 19th goal of the season when he one-timed Zub’s pass past Allen at 4:40 of the third period.
Formenton, who left in the second period favouring his arm before returning in the third, made it 5-1 at 10:19 of the third when he raced down the right wing, then cut inside and beat Allen.
With Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot and Josh Brown out for rest of the season, Ottawa iced a young defensive corps.
Defenceman Olle Alsing made his NHL debut. His defensive partner, Jacob Bernard-Docker, played in just his second career game.
Linesman Steve Barton left the game in this third period after being hit in the face with the puck.
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