The visiting Montreal Canadiens
put on a terrific show for their supporters at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Friday night.
Tomas Plekanec scored twice as the Canadiens blasted the struggling Senators 7-1. Andrei Kostitsyn and Max Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist, Brian Gionta, Benoit Pouliot and P.K. Subban also scored goals, while Scott Gomez and James Wisniewski each had a pair of assists.
All that offense was music to the eyes of the numerous Canadiens' supporters in the crowd of 20,337, who spent much of the night singing and drowning out any noise by the home crowd.
The Canadiens also got 33 saves by Carey Price as they rebounded after a 2-1 overtime loss in Buffalo on Tuesday to win for the seventh time in their past 10 games. They are sixth in the East, two points behind fifth-place Washington and one in back of Boston for the top spot in the Northeast Division. It was their second seven-goal game of the season -- they also had seven against Carolina on Nov. 13.
Unlike Monday, when they wasted a 4-0 lead against the Flames before winning 5-4 in overtime, the Canadiens didn't take their foot off the gas.
"We jumped out hard and then they started to turn it on pretty good towards the end of the first period," Price said. "As we started the second we knew we had to grab the momentum again and our guys popped in a couple quick and we just grabbed all the momentum after that. We definitely didn't want to give that one away. I think Calgary was a good learning lesson for us."
Meanwhile, Ottawa (17-25-7) continues to sink slowly in the East.
Chris Kelly had the lone goal for the Senators, who are 0-4-1 in their last five games, have lost six straight at home and have dropped to 13th in the East and 27th in the overall standings. Ottawa has lost five straight and 11 of its last 12, scoring just 14 times in those 11 losses.
Pouliot and Plekanec gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead just 3:45 into the game. Kelly finally gave the home fans something to cheer about when he beat Price at 9:20 to make it 2-1 after the first period.
"A couple of mistakes and it's 2-0 before we know it," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We battled back hard in the first to get within one and take all the momentum back, but then whenever we have a lapse in our play it seems like it's costing us now, and they're very opportunistic on their chances."
But the Canadiens put the game out of reach in the second, scoring three times while capitalizing on Ottawa mistakes. Gionta scored at 1:12 before Pacioretty increased the lead to 4-1 with a power-play goal at 5:37. That sent starting goaltender Mike Brodeur to the bench after allowing four goals on 15 shots.
"I'm a bit upset at myself with my performance," Brodeur said. "I had a chance to step in and play a lot better and I don't think I did that."
However, Brian Elliott fared no better. He surrendered the fifth Canadiens' goal on just the second shot he faced as Plekanec scored on a breakaway at 11:27.
The start of the third period summed up the Senators' difficulties this season. Trailing 5-1, they had a two-man advantage for 1:10. But not only did they manage just three non-threatening shots, but moments after the penalties expired, Kostitsyn scored to give the Canadiens a 6-1 lead. Subban completed the night with a power-play goal at 12:43.
Pacioretty played three nights after being taken to a hospital after being hit in the chest by a slap shot from Wisniewski.
"Everyone in this League plays hurt every night," said Pacioretty, who also assisted on Gionta's goal. "There's not much I have to say about that but you do what you can to help this team win games and I think tonight I did a pretty good job of that."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report