MONTREAL -- Brady Tkachuk finished what Jean-Gabriel Pageau started, and the Ottawa Senators feel like they have the struggling franchise moving in the right direction.
Tkachuk went five-hole on Carey Price 38 seconds into overtime, Pageau scored for the second straight game and the Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Wednesday night. Craig Anderson stopped 35 shots, and Ottawa won for the fourth time in five games.
“We’re still learning and getting better,” Tkachuk said. “And we’ve improved so much since the start of the year. I definitely think we’re trending in the right direction.
Montreal rookie Nick Suzuki scored in the second period, and Price stopped 22 shots for the Canadiens a day after allowing five goals in Columbus.
Pageau beat Price at 9:55 of the second by tipping a shot from Tyler Ennis. Pageau leads the NHL with 10 goals this month, and the 27-year-old also has nine goals in 20 career games versus the Canadiens — his most against any opponent.
“It’s obviously a great feeling,” said Pageau, who has 13 goals this season. “I’m feeling confident in my abilities right now and I’m lucky to have the teammates I have right now. We’re playing some really good hockey.
“When I shoot, I always try to score now. That’s something that changes when you play with confidence.”
Both teams were playing on consecutive nights. Ottawa defeated the Red Wings 4-3 in Detroit on Tuesday while the Canadiens lost 5-2 to the Blue Jackets.
The Canadiens were the better team in the first period, outshooting Ottawa 12-3, but neither scored.
Suzuki scored on a power play with Nikita Zaitsev in the box for cross-checking. Phillip Danault found the puck during a net-front scramble and passed to Suzuki for an easy score. It was his sixth goal of the season and came 44 seconds into the period.
Ennis nearly gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead in the final minute of the second on a breakaway, but Price made a blocker save.
The visitors kept coming in the third. Price denied Ennis on a power play early on, moments after Anthony Duclair missed the net from the slot.
“We’re not playing bad hockey but we’re not finishing our chances,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “When you don’t finish your chances, you give the other team a chance to stay in the game. It’s frustrating, it’s unfortunate, but it’s not because we’re playing bad hockey.”
Ottawa's league-worst power play finished 0 for 3.
The Sens were down a forward for most of the game. Forward Vladislav Namestnikov left in the first period after falling awkwardly into the boards on a hit from defenseman Cale Fleury. He did not return.
NOTES: Senators F Bobby Ryan joined the league's player assistance program, the NHLPA announced Wednesday. ... Former Canadiens captain and coach Guy Carbonneau, who was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame this week, was honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Senators: Host the Rangers on Friday night.
Canadiens: Host the Rangers on Saturday night.
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