OT hero Kovalchuk helps Canadiens snap 8-game skid with 2-1 win over Senators

OTTAWA — Ilya Kovalchuk’s winner in overtime helped the Montreal Canadiens snap an eight-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

Coming into the game neither team had won since Dec. 23.

Montreal (19-20-7) improved to 1-7-1 in its last nine, while the Senators are 0-4-3 through their last seven.

Nick Suzuki scored in regulation for the Canadiens (19-20-7), while Carey Price stopped 41 shots.

The Senators (16-22-7) were coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Red Wings in Detroit the night before. Marcus Hogberg, who got his second start in as many nights, kept Ottawa in the game making 23 saves.

Trailing 1-0, the Senators were finally able to beat Price at 13:32 of the third period on a broken play. Anthony Duclair came into the slot and was unable to get a shot off, before a loose puck was inadvertently redirected into the net by Montreal’s Matthew Peca, who made his return to the lineup after missing the last 14 games. Drake Batherson, who was the last Senator to touch the puck, was credited with the goal.

The Canadiens had a great opportunity to regain the lead minutes later, but Nate Thompson missed a wide-open net.

Both goalies were at their finest in the second making a number of big stops.

Hogberg made a great save on Artturi Lehkonen midway through the period, while Price made a big save on Chris Tierney as he broke in alone with Ottawa shorthanded. The Senators were swarming in the final minute of the period, but could not find a way to beat Price.

Shots were 8-8 in the opening period, but the Canadiens had the better chances and were finally able to beat Hogberg as Suzuki, with his ninth, opened the scoring on the power play midway through the opening period.

Notes: Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki missed his second straight game due to the flu. The Canadiens were without Brendan Gallagher as he was dealing with headaches following Thursday’s 4-2 loss to Edmonton. Prior to Thursday’s loss, Gallagher had missed four straight games due to a concussion. Ben Chiarot missed his second straight game due to a lower body injury.

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