KANATA - Here are a few key storylines from the Canadiens' 2-1 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Back on track
Saturday night's win will surely work wonders for team morale. On top of being the Habs' first win of 2020, Claude Julien's troops ended their eight-game losing streak.
The players seemed to breathe a big sigh of relief with the big victory.
"It feels good. We didn't make it easy on ourselves again. We managed to pick up a big point," mentioned Phillip Danault. "A big goal from Kovy [Ilya Kovalchuk]. Pricey [Carey Price] was also incredible and he helped us win tonight."
There were lots of factors which led to the Canadiens picking up their first win since December 23 over the Jets in Winnipeg.
"We talked about it before the third period: play to win the game, not to sit back and wait for what they're going to do. But we took so many penalties. Our PKers did an unbelievable job, and Pricer stood on his head," outlined Kovalchuk, who lit the lamp for the first time as a Hab. "Finally, we got a win, so it's good. It's going to build some momentum and some confidence, for sure."
In the process, the Canadiens handed the Senators their seventh straight loss.
Kovalchuk is the hero
It was the perfect way for Kovalchuk to score his first goal as a Canadien.
The 36-year-old veteran did not miss his chance in overtime.
According to head coach Claude Julien, it was a well-deserved goal for the Russian forward.
"It was a good feeling for everyone. His teammates were happy for him. He's a guy we wanted to have to help us given the circumstances. On top of his goal, he made nice plays and his shifts were short," affirmed Julien during his postgame media availability. "I find he fits in well with what we want him to be doing."
For his part, Price highlighted the positive attitude Kovalchuk has brought with him since joining the Canadiens.
"He's been bringing enthusiasm ever since he arrived. He's definitely earned that," expressed Price, who made 41 saves in the win. "It was a big goal for us. Obviously, things haven't been rosy around here. But that was a nice breath that's been breathed into this team."
Kovalchuk, who was playing his fourth game for the Canadiens, said he's been pleased with the way his new teammates have embraced him since getting to Montreal.
"It's a great atmosphere in this locker room. I said it from the first minute I came in: the guys have been unbelievable," praised the right winger. "They welcomed me so openly; I felt like I've been here for so much time, and I've only been here for a week. It's great, and I'm feeling better than I used to."
Suzuki has some fun in front of his former teammates
Nick Suzuki enjoyed another strong game, and this time, he got to display it in front of his former Owen Sound Attack teammates to score the first goal of the game on the power play.
It was a ninth goal for the Vegas Golden Knights' first-round pick (13th overall), and a fourth on the power play.
The London, ON native is second on the Canadiens with four goals with the man advantage. Only Tomas Tatar is ahead of him with seven power play markers.
Suzuki and the Canadiens are back in action on Monday when they welcome the Calgary Flames to the Bell Centre.