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Sens Blank Habs 4-0 for First Shutout in Two Years

The Sens were hot on Saturday afternoon, scoring four goals on just 15 shots to beat Montreal 4-0. The shutout is the first for the Sens in two years, and the first under head coach D.J. Smith. It’s also a confidence booster for Matt Murray, who turned aside all 23 shots he faced and came up with some big saves early that kept the Sens in control.

 

By Zach Mulder

 

The Sens continued their trend of striking early when Artem Zub picked the top corner on Carey Price three minutes into the game. Drake Batherson threw the puck back to the point where Zub was wide open and he didn’t waste the opportunity, giving the Sens a quick 1-0 lead. The goal would be followed a minute and a half later by a powerplay, allowing Ottawa to take control of the game early. 

 

 

 

Montreal would get their own man advantage halfway through the period but their powerplay woes continued, moving to one for their last 16 and failing to get a shot on net. The period was perhaps Ottawa’s best defensive play this season, holding the Habs to just three shots in the first and drawing another powerplay with three seconds left in the frame. 

 

For most of the second period it was a different story. Montreal would control play, generating the majority of the chances. But with just under seven minutes to go the tide turned again. Josh Norris would intercept a Montreal pass in his own zone and throw the outlet to Brady Tkachuck. Tkachuck fumbled the puck, losing the opportunity to shoot, and dropped it for Batherson who beat Price five-hole from the faceoff dot. Another Montreal powerplay came and went to end the second, once again not getting a shot on net, and the Sens took a 2-0 lead into the third period.

 

 

 

The majority of the third consisted of close, back and forth play, with both teams getting some good chances but the goalies standing tall. With five minutes to go, Josh Anderson would take a cross checking penalty born from frustration. It would take the Sens just 11 seconds to score the dagger, coming once again off the stick of Batherson. Tkachuck gave him the quick bumper pass from behind the net and Batherson did not miss from in tight. Montreal would pull the goalie moments later, giving Shane Pinto the chance to get his first NHL point. Pinto won the defensive zone faceoff, allowing Nikita Zaitsev to collect the puck and fire it down the ice and into the open net to make it 4-0.

 

 

Josh Brown would take a penalty with a minute to go and Montreal would hit the post as time ticked down, but the shutout stayed intact. The win moved coach D.J. Smith into sole possession of seventh all time for wins by a Senators head coach, a number that is sure to continue to increase. Batherson also set a personal record, recording his most points in a single game to date with three.

 

With their win, the Sens move to 5-3-0 against the Habs this season. With two games remaining against Montreal, Ottawa has a good shot at winning the season series against what is most likely a playoff team. The Sens have the day off on Sunday before taking on the Flames in Calgary on Monday night at 9:00.

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