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Quick goals lift Senators to home win vs. Canadiens

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- As much as the Ottawa Senators enjoyed winning their second game in a row, they were happier about winning for the first time in their past six games at Canadian Tire Centre.

Defeating the Montreal Canadiens made it that much better.

Marc Methot and Mark Borowiecki scored 37 seconds apart in the second period, and Bobby Ryan had a goal and two assists to lead Ottawa to a 4-1 win against Montreal on Thursday.

Kyle Turris scored into an empty net with 1:09 remaining, and Robin Lehner made 33 saves in his second straight start for the Senators, who won their second in a row following a five-game winless skid. Ottawa, which hadn't won at home since Oct. 17, has recorded points in four straight games (2-0-2).

"I think the bigger deal is to win in our building finally," Ryan said. "You know, [two in a row] is great and we made up some valuable points. That's essentially a four-point game there and we've got a game in hand on a team that's right ahead of us, so I think the thing we'll take from tonight is that we won a divisional game but we took care of our home ice."

Andrei Markov scored a power-play goal for Montreal in the first meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals since last spring, when Ottawa won a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series in five games.

Carey Price stopped 20 shots for the Canadiens, whose winless streak stretched to four games (0-3-1), including a 3-2 shootout loss against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

"It's disappointing but at the same time we controlled a lot of that game tonight," Price said. "I think going forward we can build on the way we're playing. We lost two tough games recently and I thought we deserved better."

Montreal (8-8-1) hosts the New York Islanders on Sunday. Ottawa (6-6-4) began a five-game homestand that continues Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Methot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead at 11:31 of the second period with his second goal of the season. The defenseman scored from the slot when he jumped on a clearing attempt by Markov, after Price stopped Jason Spezza's shot off a rush.

Borowiecki scored his first NHL goal at 12:08 to put the Senators up 3-1.

"I think what made it even better for me was that Methot just scored before that," the rookie defenseman said. "I haven't really gotten a chance to say this, but he's been doing an awesome job with me. I can't say enough about how easy he is to play with and he's made my transition pretty easy, so it was pretty cool to get two back-to-back from both of us."

On Sunday, Borowiecki swiped the puck into his own net when he tried to clear the crease during a 4-3 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars. Ryan, who scored with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation to send that game to overtime, hadn't taken advantage of the opportunity to tease Borowiecki about evening out his goal scoring.

"No, I don't think that one's even come up yet," Ryan said. "I did make a mention that we've got to be going forward with the puck instead of back, earlier, and he kind of laughed it off, but it's funny the way the game works out. He's the goat a couple of games ago and he feels it, but he comes right back and does a great job for us tonight."

Montreal had a potential goal waved off at 16:51 when Brendan Gallagher was called for goaltender interference. Rene Bourque shot into a gaping net with Lehner sprawled on the ice but the goal was immediately waved off by referee Brad Meier, who ruled Gallagher had not done enough to avoid contact after he drove to the net and was pushed by Senators defenseman Eric Gryba.

"I was just trying to go to the net and he's doing his job, he's riding me and it was tough for me, but I can't hit the goalie," Gallagher said.

The 21-year-old right wing was called for four of Montreal's seven minor penalties, including three in the first period. The Canadiens successfully killed each of the Senators' five power-play opportunities.

"There's a fine line between being intense and being undisciplined, and at times we were on that line and we took some penalties," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.

Markov put the Canadiens up 1-0 at 12:32 of the first period. Ryan scored his third in four games 28 seconds later to tie it 1-1.

"I think we're getting back a little bit to where we were last year," Lehner said. "Whatever happened, we kept playing the same way, and I think early in the season this year, they get one, two early, we're changing our game, we're taking chances and it just keeps rolling and we don't get anything going, but now we're confident that our game can come back and we're playing the same way. Bobby stepped up today and scored one right back at them and got us some momentum and we kept on going."

The Canadiens finished 1-for-5 with the man advantage. Montreal retained the NHL's best power play on the road, with nine goals in 29 opportunities through their eight road games, a 31.0 percent success rate. The Senators' penalty-killing unit allowed its second goal at home in 34 opportunities, a 94.1 percent success rate in seven games at Canadian Tire Centre.

Ottawa right wing Chris Neil was cut in the face when he was struck by the puck on a passing attempt by teammate Erik Karlsson 43 seconds in the third period. Neil skated into the path of Karlsson's pass from the right boards and dropped to his knees. He held his right hand to his head, with blood dripping through his fingers as he skated off the ice.

There were cuts on the right side of his cheek beside his nose and through his right eyebrow when he returned to the bench moments later. Neil drew a cheer from the crowd when he was shown on the video scoreboard.

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