KANATA, Ontario -- The oldest and youngest Senators -- Daniel Alfredsson and Mika Zibanejad -- both scored during a three-goal second-period burst as Ottawa ended Montreal's four-game winning streak by beating the Canadiens 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Alfredsson, the Senators' 40-year-old captain, broke a 1-1 tie when he beat Peter Budaj at 7:27 of the second period. Zibanejad, who turns 20 in April, scored his first NHL goal 1:58 later, blasting a shot off Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin and into the net as the Senators converted both halves of a double minor to Ryan White.
"Scoring a couple of power-play goals can really make a difference," Alfredsson said. "The coaching staff has done a really good job, through last year and this year [with special teams]. It doesn't matter who plays, we don't change anything. It's always an opportunity for somebody else."
Chris Phillips made it 4-1 at 11:02, and that was more than enough support for goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 31 saves to win for the second straight night and improve to 5-0-1 in his six appearances this season.
Despite Anderson's hot start, he says the game is still moving quickly and credits his teammates for easing the burden.
"It's fast out there," Anderson said. "But the guys in front of me help a lot by blocking shots and cleaning up the garbage. It makes my job a lot easier. I think we're playing with a lot of confidence right now. We make a decision and we go with it. I'm able to read off our defense."
Montreal struck first after Phillips was called for interference at 5:18 of the opening period. Andrei Markov's first shot went off of Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson's stick and deflected to Plekanec. Anderson made the initial pad save but the rebound went back to Plekanec. The puck then hit the skate of Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot went between the feet of a stumbling Anderson at 5:31. It was the first power-play goal allowed by the Senators at home this season.
O'Brien tied it 7:53 when O'Brien picked up the rebound of Karlsson's point shot and beat Budaj for his second goal in two games.
The Senators made White pay when he was called for roughing and assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for arguing the call at 7:24 of the second period, giving Ottawa a four-minute advantage.
Right off the faceoff, Alfredsson picked up the deflection of Patrick Wiercioch's shot from the high slot and went top shelf to beat Budaj for his 417th career goal. Zibanejad, who had an assist in his NHL debut on Tuesday, then got the first goal of his NHL career when his point shot found its way into the net at 9:25.
"It was nice to finally get that goal," said Zibanejad, the sixth player taken in the 2011 NHL Draft. "I've been close and gotten a couple of posts here and there. It was a bit of a relief.
Phillips took a pass from Smith and blasted a slapper over Budaj's shoulder 97 seconds later for a 4-1 lead. Neil's completed the scoring with 5:14 left in regulation when his wraparound deflected into the net off Budaj's left foot.
Anderson leads the NHL with a goals-against average of 0.99 and a .967 save percentage. Two of his best saves came off Brandon Prust in the third period -- one on a point-blank shot at 4:17 and another seven minutes later when the Montreal forward attempted to go high on Anderson, who made the stop with the paddle of his stick.
It was a frustrating night for the Canadiens, who never recovered after Ottawa's flurry of goals in the second period.
"The penalties broke our rhythm," coach Michel Therrien said. "We lost a lot of fights in front of the net and that didn't make it easy on Peter [Budaj]. Our power play has provided the momentum for us. [Being] shorthanded, it was too hard."
Captain Brian Gionta said Anderson's play made a big difference.
"[Anderson] is a top-notch goalie," Gionta said. "He made a few saves that could have changed things for us. That's what happens when your goaltender plays [well]. You keep the momentum."
Ottawa won without two of its top players – first-line center Jason Spezza was absent for a second straight game with an upper-body injury, while defenseman Sergei Gonchar was a late scratch with a lower-body ailment. Coach Paul MacLean did not have an update regarding Spezza, and it is unclear whether he will travel to Raleigh with the team for their game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Gonchar's injury was sustained against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, and MacLean said he expects the 38-year-old defenseman to travel with the team.