OTTAWA — There was no denying the sense of relief from the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night.
Players jumped to their feet as Ilya Kovalchuk scored the overtime winner to give Montreal a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Most importantly, the win put an end to the Canadiens eight-game losing streak.
“That was a big goal for us,” admitted Carey Price who made 41 saves. “Obviously things haven’t been rosy around here, but it was a nice breath that was breathed into this team.”
Kovalchuk signed a one-year, two-way contract on Jan. 3 with the Canadiens and was happy to play a part in the win.
“It’s good to get a first goal as a (Canadien), especially in OT,” said Kovalchuk. “I think the win is way more important to snap that eight-game losing streak and we need to build from there.”
Scoring game winners will make anyone popular, but Canadiens coach Claude Julien says Kovalchuk has fit right in since joining the team.
“He’s come in and been the ultimate pro,” said Julien. “(Saturday) he made a couple of nice passes where we had some great scoring chances and he scores the winning goal. He’s respectful of his shift lengths, he’s respectful of how we want to play. So, I think the guys look at a guy who’s been around for a long time buying in and he’s an easy guy to like.”
Coming into the game neither team had won since Dec. 23.
Montreal (19-20-7) is now 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).
Price was instrumental for the Montreal on Saturday night and is hopeful that this can be the thing that kickstarts a winning streak.
“Winning solves all problems it seems,” said Price with a laugh.
Like his players, Julien was more than a little relieved to see the losing streak come to an end.
“The first win after that many losses is never an easy one,” Julien said. “We’ll take it and hopefully we’ll build from that.”
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.
While the losses continue to pile up for the Senators, players feel there’s a lot of good things being done and shouldn’t be overlooked.
“We’re going in the right direction, that’s one thing I know,” said Jean-Gabriel Pageau. “Everyone is on the same page and is playing the same way and that’s a good thing. When you lose by one goal it means you’re in every game.”
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.
“That’s probably the luckiest goal I’ve ever scored,” said Batherson, who played his fourth game since being recalled on Jan. 4.
Batherson wasn’t as fortunate in overtime as he was caught staring down a two-on-one when Kovalchuk scored.
“That’s probably the first time since being a pro playing a two-on-one defensively,” said Batherson. “I didn’t really know what to do, but obviously it was a nice shot and hopefully I don’t get a two-on-one on me again.”
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.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2020.
Alouettes trade for QB Trevor Harris – CFL.ca
MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes announced on Sunday that the team has acquired veteran quarterback Trevor Harris from the Edmonton Elks in exchange for American defensive end Antonio Simmons.
In six games this season, Harris completed 135 of 192 passes, collecting 1,568 yards, adding six majors.
Harris (six-foot-three, 212 pounds) is in his ninth season in the CFL after playing in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton. In 139 career games, he completed 1990 passes for 23,750 yards, adding 126 touchdown passes. The 35-year-old quarterback has hoisted the Grey Cup twice (2012, Toronto; 2016, Ottawa). The Waldo, OH native was selected on the East Division All-Star Team in 2016. The former Edinboro University Fighting Scots suited up for the Jacksonvile Jaguars in 2010 and the Buffalo Bills in 2011.
“Trevor is a veteran who knows the league well and what it takes to win”, said Montreal Alouettes General Manager Danny Maciocia. “We are pleased to have been able to complete this transaction. We are confident that Trevor will work well with our quarterbacks. We thank Antonio for his services and wish him well.”
In 23 career games with the Alouettes, Simmons made 52 defensive tackles, five quarterback sacks and forced a fumble.
Simmons is currently in his second CFL season and joins the Elks after originally signing with Montreal in May of 2019.
The Georgia Tech product played all 18 regular season games for the Als in 2019, recording 45 defensive tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble. In five games this season, Simmons has registered seven defensive tackles and two sacks.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Simmons played four years (2014-17) at Georgia Tech, collecting 83 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and seven quarterback sacks. He spent time in 2018 with both the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Flames D Andersson fined $5K for roughing Oilers F Yamamoto – TSN
Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson has been fined $5,000 for roughing Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto.
Andersson was fined the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the Players’ Association.
The money goes to the players’ emergency assistance fund.
Andersson was assessed minor penalties for both roughing and elbowing at 14:33 of the first period Saturday in Edmonton.
The Flames lost their season-opener 5-2 to the Oilers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2021.
Report: Maple Leafs to ease up on dress code restrictions for game days – Sportsnet.ca
The Toronto Maple Leafs are apparently planning to loosen up on dress code restrictions for players on game day.
Players are required to wear jackets, ties and dress pants to and from the arena, as outlined in the CBA, however, teams can ease up on the mandate if they choose.
The Arizona Coyotes were the only team that opted to do so entering the season, but the Maple Leafs now plan to follow suit, according to Lance Hornby of The Toronto Sun.
The decision comes just a few days after ESPN published an article on Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews, who has shown a flair for unique fashion while away from the arena, discussing his displeasure with the NHL’s strict dress code.
“I don’t mind wearing a suit, but it gets old pretty quick,” Matthews said. “I think it’d be fun to wear different things and be able to express yourself, similar to what the NBA does or even the NFL a little bit.”
The 24-year-old Matthews, who led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games last season, missed the first three games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery and is expected to make his 2021-22 debut Monday night against the New York Rangers on Sportsnet.
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