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game recap

Canadiens defeat Senators again

Sweep home-and-home series to build four-point lead on Ottawa

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 at Bell Centre on Sunday to sweep a home-and-home series and increase their lead on Ottawa for first place in the Atlantic Division to four points.

Tomas Plekanec, Jordie Benn, Paul Byron and Nathan Beaulieu scored, and Carey Price made 30 saves for Montreal (41-23-8).

"It's definitely a good momentum-builder," Price said. "I thought our compete level was right where it should be and our execution level followed suit."

The Canadiens, who defeated the Senators 4-3 in a shootout at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday, are 9-2-0 in their past 11 games and 10-4-0 since Claude Julien replaced Michel Therrien as coach Feb. 14.

 

WATCH: All Senators vs. Canadiens highlights

 

"I just think we've responded well," Price said. "Sometimes you just need a shake-up, a wake-up call, and I think that's what that was."

Tom Pyatt scored for Ottawa (39-24-8), which has one game in hand on Montreal. Craig Anderson made 33 saves in his second straight start since missing two games because of a lower-body injury.

Video: OTT@MTL: Benn's one-timer finds twine off defenseman

The Senators have lost four straight (0-2-2) following a six-game winning streak. They are four points ahead of the third-place Boston Bruins; each team has 11 games remaining.

"It was one of those games they were better than us, we've got to admit it," Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson said. "We've got a lot of work to do. But I still think we're a really good team, we believe in ourselves, and we have no issues whatsoever with what's going on right now."

Plekanec gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the first period.

Pyatt tied it 1-1 with his seventh goal at 4:36 when his shot struck Benn's stick and floated over Price into the top left corner.

Video: OTT@MTL: Pyatt scores on deflection off defenseman

Benn gave Montreal a 2-1 lead with 2:15 left in the first when his one-timer from the right point deflected off Ottawa forward Viktor Stalberg's stick on its way past Anderson into the right corner.

"I think it got faster after it skipped off the ice or hit [Stalberg's] stick, one of the two," Benn said. "I don't know, it wasn't a very hard shot, but a little cricket bounce and it was good."

Byron's 20th goal, his sixth in eight games, made it 3-1 at 3:30 of the third period. Beaulieu increased the lead to 4-1 when he scored on a slap shot from the left point at 15:08.

"We were off, but I think they came out real strong," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "They got the goal, but we fought back, we battled right back. At 1-1, it was a pretty even game. Even at 2-1, we were fine at that point. But in the second period, I could feel it. Legs were starting to go. The other team was taking over. They 100 percent deserve the game."

Video: OTT@MTL: Beaulieu drills home a slap shot for PPG

 
Goal of the game

Byron and defenseman Andrei Markov each had an assist on Plekanec's goal, which came on Montreal's third shot on goal. Brendan Gallagher, who got the Canadiens first shot 19 seconds in, returned a pass to Byron, who moved the puck to Markov at the left point. Anderson made the save on Markov's rising wrist shot, but Plekanec scored on the rebound.

Video: OTT@MTL: Plekanec buries rebound to open the scoring

 
Save of the game

Price sprawled and spread his legs to make a right-toe save on Kyle Turris' one-timer at 4-on-4 at 16:47 of the second period. "Yeah, that's just fun to watch," Benn said. "I came in after and I said if I did that I'd blow my hamstrings off. But no, he's an amazing goalie. He's there to save us, so he's always playing well."

Video: OTT@MTL: Price sprawls across for a fantastic save

 
Highlight of the game

Byron gathered a puck left for him by Gallagher in the neutral zone and carried it down the right side before scoring with a wrist shot between Anderson's pads from the top of the right faceoff circle.

Video: OTT@MTL: Byron converts on odd-man rush early in 3rd

 
Unsung performance of the game

Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin had five hits and two blocked shots in 18:37 after he was a healthy scratch for the second time in five games Saturday. "[Emelin] was really solid tonight," Julien said. "He was the [Emelin] that we all know."

 

They said it

"We know they're a good team, they proved to us this weekend they're a good team. We play them one more time and we're going to keep moving forward and improving our game, and hopefully by next Saturday we have something new to throw at them." -- Senators captain Erik Karlsson said

 

"We were up for the challenge and it's exciting as a group to see that, but obviously we haven't accomplished anything yet. There's still a lot of time for us to continue to build and hopefully this is just another step in the right direction." -- Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher

 
Need to know

An apparent second goal by Byron six seconds after Beaulieu scored was waved off following video review after Boucher challenged that Byron was offside. ... Plekanec's 224th goal moved him past Peter Mahovlich for 18th in Canadiens history. He trails Stephane Richer by one goal for 17th.

 
What's next

Senators: At the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NESN, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, RDS, FS-D, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Price lifts Canadiens past Senators, 4-1

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