NHL Game Summary - Montreal at Ottawa
(Tuesday, April 1st)
Final Score: Montreal 3, Ottawa 0
Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Carey Price made 32 saves for his third career shutout to help the Montreal Canadiens clinch the Northeast Division with a 3-0 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
This is the first division title for the Canadiens since the 1991-92 season.
"It is huge for us and we're going to take tonight to enjoy it," said Montreal forward Bryan Smolinski about winning the division. "Tomorrow it's back to work as we have still have two games left. There's no reason why we can't win both of them."
The win gives Montreal 100 points on the season, which is also the amount Pittsburgh has for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Penguins have more wins.
Alex Kovalev had a goal and an assist for Montreal, which has won five of its last six games.
"It's so close to playoffs you don't want to change your game at all," said Price. "You always have to work on the little details to help make you team better. Tonight was a great example of how we want to play in the playoffs. The last two games we didn't play particularly well against Toronto and Buffalo, so tonight is a huge win for us."
Martin Gerber made 24 saves for the Senators, who have dropped five of their last six games.
Ottawa has two games left on the season, a road game against Toronto on Thursday and a home game against Boston on Friday, and currently sits in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of idle Boston and Philadelphia.
"There's no question we're under pressure," said Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson. "We gave them a couple of good shifts early, but then we took a lot of penalties. You never want to face a 5-on-3, especially when they score. We gave Montreal a chance on the power play and they made us pay. We've just got to stay positive. We have to win these two games. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We put ourselves in this position, so now we're going to have to make the best of it, have a good day tomorrow and get ready for Thursday (in Toronto)."
The Canadiens used their potent power play in the first period to take a 1-0 lead. On a 5-on-3 advantage, Michael Ryder skated behind the net and from the left side sent a backhand pass across the goalmouth to Kovalev, who flicked a backhander past Gerber at the 9:24 mark of the first period.
Price only needed to make six saves in the first period to keep Ottawa off the scoreboard.
Montreal extended its lead to 2-0 just 5:28 into the second period. A scrum along the left boards resulted in the puck squirting out to Mathieu Dandenault, who skated to the left circle and snapped a wrister into the right corner of the net for his ninth goal of the season.
Price made 10 saves in the second period to keep the Senators from scoring.
The Canadiens padded their lead on the power play with 8:38 to play. Andrei Kostitsyn put a quick wrister on net from the low left side that went over the glove of Gerber for a 3-0 lead.
Montreal closes out its season at home with a game against Buffalo on Thursday and a game against Toronto on Saturday...Ottawa won five of the eight games against Montreal this season...The Canadiens finished the game 2-for-6 on the power play while Ottawa went 0-for-8.
04/01 23:51:29 ET