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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The Canadiens called up two players before Friday night's contest in Ottawa, Andreas Engqvist and Ryan White, to replace Mike Cammalleri and Jeff Halpern who were both injured Tuesday in Buffalo. The Habs started quickly and got out to an early lead before Ottawa started pressing at the end of the first period. Montreal extended their lead early in the second period and the game was virtually over at that point.
The Habs got off to a great start by scoring on their first shot of the game with a breakaway goal by Benoit Pouliot after a nice pass by Mathieu Darche. They doubled the lead at 3:45 when Tomas Plekanec converted from the slot after a Senators turnover. The Senators got one back with Chris Kelly finishing of a nice passing play and it was only due to some nice saves by Carey Price that the Habs went into the intermission with a lead.
Whatever Jacques Martin seemed to say in the intermission, it worked. The Canadiens added to their lead with goals from Brian Gionta, a powerplay goal by Max Pacioretty and another breakaway goal, this time by Plekanec. The Canadiens played a complete period in the second, outshooting their opponents 15-10.
The third period started with the Canadiens trying to kill a 5-on-3 situation after Hal Gill took a hooking call just before the intermission. They managed to kill it off and retaliated by scoring just 1:08 seconds later with a goal by Andrei Kostitsyn after a goal-mouth scrum. The lead was extend to six after the Habs got there second powerplay goal of the game with a point shot by P.K. Subban, his fifth of the year.
The Canadiens took on an Ottawa Senators team that was struggling and managed to score 7 goals for the second time this season. As a result of this win, Montreal now leapfrogs the Rangers into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 58 points with a game in-hand.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Tomas Plekanec (2 goals, +3 rating, 6 shots, 17:33 TOI)
He got his 15th and 16th goals of the season and returned to his form from earlier in the season that justified his new long-term contract.
2nd Star: Carey Price (33 saves on 34 shots, .971 SV%, 24th win)
Price made some key saves late in the first period, which preserved the lead and allowed the team to return in the second period to kill of the game. Another stellar performance.
3rd Star: Andrei Kostitsyn (1 goal, 1 assist, +3 rating, 3 shots, 15:49 TOI)
The Belarusian played one of those complete, two-way games that seem to justify his lofty draft position. He forechecked hard, set up the second goal and played a solid defensive game.
- NHL Statsheet