for this game

Habs rip Sens thanks to early offense

Dec 28, 2011 - 5:20 AM
Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Lars Eller's short-handed goal in the first period started an offensive display the Montreal Canadiens used to down the Ottawa Senators, 6-2, and snap a five-game slide.

The Canadiens scored five consecutive goals, starting with Eller's at 5:08 of the first period and ending with P.K. Subban's 5:53 into the second.

The outburst allowed Montreal to earn its first victory since December 13 against the Islanders. The Habs had scored only nine goals during their recent slide, and were shut out in Winnipeg on Thursday.

Carey Price made 33 saves in the win, the Habs' first under interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth. He moved into that role when Jacques Martin was fired December 17.

"He's been doing a good job for us," Price said of Cunneyworth. "We haven't been playing up to par, so it was really good to be able to get that one for him."

By contrast, Craig Anderson allowed four goals on seven shots in the start for Ottawa. He was replaced two minutes into the second period by Alex Auld, who made 19 saves the rest of the way.

But by then it was too late for the Senators, who dropped their second consecutive game.

Ottawa's Zack Smith lit the lamp just 1:42 into the game, but the Habs soon evened the contest. With Tomas Plekanec in the penalty box for tripping, Eller fought for control of a loose puck in the neutral zone, used his size to hold off Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson as he approached the left circle, then ripped a shot to the far side of the net. The puck flew past Anderson's glove, bounced off the post and went in.

Plekanec tipped in a goal at 12:39, and nearly three minutes later Mike Cammalleri scored on a rebound of Louis Leblanc's point blast.

Montreal grabbed a 4-1 lead 2:03 into the second period when Leblanc scored during a 3-on-2 counter-rush. Subban's wrister from the slot ended the surge.

Jason Spezza scored Ottawa's second goal less than a minute after Subban tallied, but the Senators never caught up. Erik Cole netted a power-play marker late in the final period to finish the rout.

"They buried their chances, we didn't bury ours," Spezza said. "We knew they were going to be a hungry team coming in here struggling. It was disappointing to have a first period we had."

Game Notes

Raphael Diaz had three assists for Montreal...Ottawa hosts Calgary on Friday...Montreal improved to 1-3-0 on its six-game road trip, which ends with two games in Florida. The Habs play the Lightning on Thursday and face the Panthers on Saturday.