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game recap

Kovalchuk gets first goal for Canadiens to top Senators, end streak

Scores in OT to give Montreal first win in nine games; Ottawa loses seventh in row

by Callum Fraser / Independent Correspondent

Kovalchuk's overtime winner

MTL@OTT: Kovalchuk's first goal with Habs wins it

Ilya Kovalchuk drives towards the net before firing the puck by Marcus Hogberg, sealing the overtime win with his first goal with the Canadiens

  • 00:56 •

OTTAWA -- Ilya Kovalchuk scored with 52 seconds left in overtime, and the Montreal Canadiens won for the first time in nine games, 2-1 against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

Kovalchuk shot on a 2-on-1, and his wrist shot went in off the right post.

"I said in my head, 'I'm going to try to shoot this one,'" said Kovalchuk, who played his fourth game with Montreal after signing Jan. 3. "It's good to get a first goal [with the Canadiens], for sure, especially in [overtime]. But I think the win is way more important because we snapped that eight-game losing streak, finally."


[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Senators highlights]

Nick Suzuki scored, and Carey Price made 41 saves for Montreal (19-20-7), which was 0-7-1 in the previous eight games.

"The first win after that many losses is never an easy one," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We'll take it and hopefully we'll build from that."

Video: MTL@OTT: Suzuki whips home PPG to kick off scoring

Drake Batherson scored for Ottawa (16-22-7), who have lost seven straight (0-4-3), including 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings in a shootout on Friday.

"We played real hard," Senators coach D.J. Smith said. "For a back-to-back, a little sluggish in the first, and then we really started to skate from there. We had some opportunities in the second period, pucks kind of bobbled on us. We had some opportunities in the third, Price made some big saves. And [Marcus Hogberg] was outstanding for us."

Hogberg made 23 saves, starting his second game in a back-to-back.

"Some nights it's harder when you don't get that many shots from the beginning," Hogberg said. "You have to be ready all the time, be aware that the game can be quick."

Video: MTL@OTT: Hogberg turns away Kovalchuk in overtime

Suzuki's wrist shot from the top of the right circle on the power play gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 8:24 of the first period. Batherson tied the game 1-1 at 13:32 of the third period.

"What I said on the bench, I said, 'Guys, if we want to win this game we can't start playing on our heels,'" Julien said. "'We've got to go after the next goal, we've got to find a way to win and let's keep our heads up.'"

Batherson was credited with the goal when the puck deflected off Montreal forward Matthew Peca. It was his first goal in 18 games, dating to Nov. 29, 2018. 

"I remember barely touching it," Batherson said. "And then I looked around and it was in the net. I thought [Senators forward Anthony Duclair] or someone had scored. The boys were all fired up and they said I scored. Probably the luckiest goal I've ever scored, but I'll take it."

Video: MTL@OTT: Batherson nets fortunate goal to tie game


They said it

"He's been the ultimate pro. Tonight he made a couple nice passes there where we had some great scoring chances, scores the winning goal. He's respectful of his shift lengths, he's respectful of how we want to play, so the guys look at a guy who's been around for a long time, buying in. And he's an easy guy to like." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien on Ilya Kovalchuk

"He's aggressive, he works hard, he fights to get to pucks, and he gives us a chance to win every night." -- Senators coach D.J. Smith on Marcus Hogberg


Need to know

Kovalchuk has four points (one goal, three assists) in four games with the Canadiens. He had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 17 games with the Los Angeles Kings. ... Peca was minus-1 in 7:57 after missing 14 games with a lower-body injury. … The Senators were 0-for-4 on the power play, the Canadiens were 1-for-4. … Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game (illness).


What's next

Canadiens: Host the Calgary Flames on Monday (7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, SNW, NHL.TV)

Senators: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, NBCSCH NHL.TV)

Video: Kovalchuk scores OT winner to lift Habs past Sens

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