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game recap

Canadiens increase Atlantic lead on Senators

Defeat Ottawa for third time in eight days, on top of division by three points

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens lead the Ottawa Senators by three points for first place in the Atlantic Division after defeating them for the third time in eight days, 3-1 at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Defenseman Andrei Markov had three points to match his season high. He scored two goals in the second period after he had an assist on Shea Weber's 17th goal in the first.

Carey Price made 31 saves for the Canadiens (42-24-9), who ended a two-game skid.

Montreal swept a home-and-home from Ottawa last weekend, winning 4-3 in a shootout at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday and 4-1 at home Sunday.

 

WATCH: All Senators vs. Canadiens highlights

 

"We knew it was going to be a tough game and the last couple of games we didn't play good enough," Markov said. "So we brought our focus back, we played all 60 minutes tonight, and it was a good team win."

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Senators (41-25-8), who have one game in hand on the Canadiens. Craig Anderson made 21 saves in his 500th NHL game.

Video: OTT@MTL: Markov drills hard strike past Anderson

"It's just a blip on the radar," Anderson said. "It's just another game. We've got to move forward until [Sunday]. There's no disappointment in here. We're looking forward to the next one and keep grinding."

The Senators began a five-game road trip and play six of their final eight regular-season games on the road. The Canadiens play three of their final seven games at home.

"I thought we came out the way we wanted to come out, and the penalties killed us and we didn't score on our power plays, that's what it is," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. "So I think it's two good teams going at it and there's a reason why they're first. They're first because they are where they are right now and they were able to win big games this year, and that's what they did tonight."

Video: OTT@MTL: Pageau finishes Hoffman's slick feed

Weber gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period with his 12th power-play goal.

Markov, who had three assists in a 4-3 loss to the Senators on Nov. 22, made it 2-0 when he scored with a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle at 1:13 of the second period.

Markov scored his second goal of the game, sixth of the season, unassisted on the power play to put Montreal up 3-0 at 5:55.

Video: OTT@MTL: Price extends pad for tough goal-line save

Pageau scored his 10th goal at 12:11 of the second to make it 3-1.

Montreal was 2-for-4 on the power play, and Ottawa was 0-for-3.

 
Goal of the game

Weber one-touched a pass from Markov to Alex Galchenyuk on the right-wing wall before he switched sides with Markov. After getting the puck back from Galchenyuk, Markov moved it to Weber for a one-timer past Anderson from the above the left faceoff circle. "He's a great passer," Weber said. "Every game it seems he like he finds somebody, whether he finds someone for an odd-man rush or he's able to slide it over for a good shot."

Video: OTT@MTL: Weber hammers home PPG with big slapper

 
Save of the game

Senators left wing Alexandre Burrows took a pass against the grain from Zack Smith and had Price down and out in the third period, but his backhand hit the right post. With Derick Brassard driving to the net as a trailer, Price recovered to smother the loose puck with 9:27 remaining. "I just got lucky," Price said. "He made a pretty good pass coming across, and those are the types of breaks you need in order to win games in the NHL."

 

Highlight of the game

Markov stepped up into the slot to intercept Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson's backhand pass from the left corner of the Ottawa zone and one-time it past Anderson. "Obviously, he's best known for his passing ability and his vision, but he's had a very underrated shot as well," Price said. "When he gets a hold of one, he can really rip it."

Video: OTT@MTL: Markov rockets home PPG for second of game

 
Unsung performance of the game

Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec won 14 of 20 faceoffs (70.0 percent) to help Montreal win 32 of 55 draws (58.2 percent).

 

They said it

"It was one of those games where special teams was huge for them. Our penalty kill just didn't get the job done, it starts with the goalie making the save for the guys. But special teams, their power play was clicking tonight, and we weren't able to get one." -- Senators goalie Craig Anderson

 

"That was a solid effort all around. I thought the guys competed, and that's when we're successful, is we've got all guys on board and doing the right things." -- Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber

 
Need to know

Senators left wing Mike Hoffman extended his point streak to six games with an assist on Pageau's goal. ... Anderson has played 287 games with Ottawa, 104 with the Colorado Avalanche, 56 with the Chicago Blackhawks and 53 with the Florida Panthers. ... It was the seventh two-goal game of Markov's career, his first since Jan. 11, 2014.

 
What's next

Senators: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TCN-PH, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: Host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, RDS, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Markov, Price lift Canadiens past Senators, 3-1

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