for this game

Canadiens clinch Northeast Division, down Senators

Apr 2, 2008 - 4:40 AM
By Mark Robinson PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OTTAWA (Ticker) - The Montreal Canadiens found out on Monday they may be without captain Saku Koivu for the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, they did him proud by claiming their first division title in 16 years.

Alexei Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn each scored power-play goals and rookie Carey Price turned away 32 shots as the Canadiens skated to a 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

With the win, Montreal (45-25-10) claimed the Northeast Division and moved into a first-place tie atop the Eastern Conference with idle Pittsburgh (46-26-8).

"We're proud of the accomplishment," Kovalev said. "Getting first place for our division is great, but there is still work to do and something to accomplish in the playoffs."

Koivu suffered a fracture of a small bone in his foot and will miss the team's final two games of the regular season. His status for the postseason will be re-evaluated at a later time.

"Having guys out can definitely hurt," Price said. "But the other guys did a really good job of stepping up and it helped our game tonight. Hopefully, we can keep that going."

"I think everybody knows the challenge that we have at hand here missing some key players," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "Everyone had to come up with a big game if we wanted to come out with a win here against Ottawa, and I think they all did."

Montreal took advantage of a long two-man advantage to open the scoring at 9:24 of the first period.

With two Senators in the penalty box and the Canadiens applying heavy pressure, Kovalev secured the puck to the right of the Ottawa net and lifted a backhanded shot over the glove of scrambling Senators netminder Martin Gerber.

"We were trying to put it on the net as much as possible," Kovalev said. "When the puck came back to me, it looked like maybe (Gerber) didn't know where it was. I got it on the backhand and threw it at the net again and it went in."

Michael Ryder and defenseman Patrice Brisebois each drew assists on Kovalev's 35th goal of the campaign.

After blue-liner Mathieu Dandenault added his ninth goal of the season in the second period, Kostitsyn added the finishing blow with his 26th tally of the campaign.

With 8:38 remaining in the third period, Kostitsyn accepted a feed from Kovalev and skated in on Gerber. As he drifted to the right of the goal, Montreal's leading scorer beat the Ottawa goaltender on the right side.

The offensive support was more than enough for Price, who turned away six shots in the first, 10 in the second and 16 in the third to notch his third career shutout.

"The guys played really well in our end," Price said. "We didn't give them many good chances, and when we had our own opportunities to score, we capitalized on them. A win like this is huge for us right now."

Gerber finished with 24 saves for the Senators, who fell to 1-4-1 in their last six contests.

The loss left Ottawa (42-30-8) in sixth place in the East, one point behind of the New York Rangers (41-27-11) and one point ahead of Boston (40-28-11) and Philadelphia (40-28-11). All three teams were idle on Tuesday.

"It's disappointing, for sure." Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "Anytime you're in this kind of do-or-die situation and you lose, you've just got to move on to the next one and make sure you get the job. We just have to make sure we come up with a win on Thursday (at Toronto).

"To keep things in our own hands, we had to win two out of our last three games," Senators defenseman Chris Phillips said. "That situation hasn't changed, so we'll rest up tonight and get focused for the two games we have left."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 1 1 3
    OTTAWA 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 35 (MICHAEL RYDER, PATRICE
    BRISEBOIS) 9:24
    2ND PRD: MON - MATHIEU DANDENAULT 9 (GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE, MAXIM
    LAPIERRE) 5:28
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) ANDREI KOSTITSYN 26 (ALEXEI KOVALEV) 11:22
    PO

    Apr 1 10:13 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 3
    OTTAWA 0
    3RD PRD: MON - (PP) ANDREI KOSTITSYN 26 (ALEXEI KOVALEV) 11:22

    Canadiens 3, Senators 0  3rd - 8:38Apr 1 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MONTREAL 1 1 2
    OTTAWA 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 35 (MICHAEL RYDER, PATRICE
    BRISEBOIS) 9:24
    2ND PRD: MON - MATHIEU DANDENAULT 9 (GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE, MAXIM
    LAPIERRE) 5:28
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- ---

    Apr 1 9:15 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 2
    OTTAWA 0
    2ND PRD: MON - MATHIEU DANDENAULT 9 (GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE, MAXIM
    LAPIERRE) 5:28

    Canadiens 2, Senators 0  2nd - 14:32Apr 1 8:47 PM


  • ------------------------
    Montreal
    1 --1
    Ottawa 0 --0
    ------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    -----------------------------
    Montreal 11 --11
    Ottawa 6 --6
    -----------------------------

    Goalies : Montreal, Carey Price (6 shots, 6 saves). Ottawa, Martin
    Gerber (11 shots, 10 saves). Referees: Kelly Sutherland, Tom Kowal.
    Linesmen: Brad Kovachik, Michel

    Apr 1 8:23 PM


  • NHL
    MONTREAL 1
    OTTAWA 0
    1ST PRD: MON - (PP) ALEXEI KOVALEV 35 (MICHAEL RYDER, PATRICE
    BRISEBOIS) 9:24

    Canadiens 1, Senators 0  1st - 10:36Apr 1 7:58 PM
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