Cole Caufield scored his first NHL goal to complete the comeback and give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.
By Chris Faria
Ryan Dzingel got the game’s first chance just over a minute in as Chris Tierney sent a nifty bank pass to put him through alone on a breakaway. Dzingel faked the shot and pulled it to his backhand but was denied by a sprawling Cayden Primeau, who was starting just his second game of the season.
A couple minutes later Primeau made a save on a long range shot from Tierney but the rebound spilled out to Connor Brown in front, who rung it off the crossbar and out. Josh Brown later had a good look from the right circle, again beating Primeau but not the bar.
The game remained scoreless through the first but it was not for a lack of effort from the Sens.
Still tied at the halfway mark of the second period, Habs defenceman Alexander Romanov stepped up and laid a crunching hit on Josh Norris. The Senators centreman took exception, dropping the gloves with Romanov in a battle between rookies.
The tilt seemed to give the Sens a spark as they finally found the game’s first goal with 5:08 to play in the period. Colin White won the offensive zone draw back to Artem Zub at the point. The defenceman passed it back to a circling Stutzle, who ripped a hard and high wrister from above the circles, beating Primeau clean on his glove side for his ninth goal of the season.
The Sens kept up the pressure early in the third, extending their lead to two less than six minutes in. Evgenii Dadonov collected the puck at the blue line and fed a sweet backhand pass to Thomas Chabot in the slot. The defender quickly snapped it on net past a screened Primeau for his sixth goal of the year.
Ottawa looked to be cruising to a relatively comfortable win but the Canadiens had other plans. With 12 minutes to play, Habs defenceman Jeff Petry picked the puck up at his own blue line and sifted his way into the Senators’zone. Neither defender picked Petry up, allowing him to bury his first goal in 23 games and bring the score to 2-1.
Montreal thought they had their equalizer with 9:23 to play, but the goal was waived off due to goaltender interference. Nick Suzuki took a pass at the right point and walked in before zipping it past goaltender Filip Gustavsson, thought it was called back after review.
Unfazed, the Canadiens kept pushing and eventually got their goal. With Nikita Zaitsev in the box, the Habs had a chance to set up their power play. Suzuki took a pass below the goal line and fed a saucer pass across to Tyler Toffoli at the left dot. He one-timed it and beat Gustavsson under his right arm to tie the game at 2-2 with 5:35 to play.
With the score still tied after 60 minutes, the game would be decided in overtime where the Canadiens completed the unlikely comeback. Petry took advantage of an exhausted Brady Tkachuk as he flew down the left wing before feeding a backhand pass to the middle. Caufield made a beeline for the net and Stutzle was too slow to react, allowing the Habs rookie to tap in the game winner and first goal of his career.
The Senators played an excellent game through 40 minutes but fell asleep in the third, getting outshot 21-3 through the last 20 minutes and change as the Canadiens clawed their way back to steal two points.
Ottawa gets a chance to bounce back on Monday as they take on the Winnipeg Jets at 7:00 PM ES