OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Erik Brannstrom had three assists for his first career multi-point game, Shane Pinto scored his first NHL goal and the Ottawa Senators stalled Montreal’s playoff charge with a 5-1 win Wednesday.
The Canadiens entered the game looking for their first four-game winning streak of the season after reeling off three straight come-from-behind victories.
Montreal’s penchant for playing from behind hurt the club this time, however, as the speedy and determined Senators controlled much of the play and put the Habs away in the third period.
“Overall, I don’t think that was a very good game for us,” Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry said. “The start, the middle and the finish.”
Brady Tkachuk, Nick Paul, Connor Brown and Alex Formenton also scored for the Senators, who improved to 8-2-1 over their past 11 games.
Joel Edmundson scored for the Canadiens.
Anton Forsberg, who signed a one-year, $900,000 extension earlier Wednesday, made 30 saves for the Senators.
“Forsberg was outstanding,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. He just looked so confident. He worked to get pucks for us back there wire-to-wire.”
Jake Allen made 29 saves for the Canadiens.
It was the last meeting of the season between the rivals, with Ottawa finishing 6-3-1 against the Habs.
Pinto opened the scoring at 11:35 of the first period. The Senators were rewarded for some strong forechecking by getting possession of the puck, and Pinto was in a great position to grab the rebound of Artem Zub’s shot and put the puck past Allen.
“I wasn’t gripping the stick too tight, but I definitely wanted to get my first one pretty soon,” Pinto said. “I’m happy it came and hopefully I can just keep building from there.”
Edmundson tied the game with 32 seconds left in the first period when he beat Forsberg on the short side following a faceoff win. Nick Suzuki picked up an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (four goals, seven assists)
Ottawa went back in front at 3:44 of the second period on Tkachuk’s 17th goal of the season. Josh Norris set Tkachuk up with a pass from behind the Canadiens goal.
Paul put Ottawa up 3-1 with just 8 seconds left in the second period when he tipped Brannstrom’s shot past Allen.
Brown added to Ottawa’s lead with his 19th goal of the season when he one-timed Zub’s pass past Allen at 4:40 of the third period.
Formenton, who left in the second period favoring his arm before returning in the third, made it 5-1 at 10:19 of the third when he raced down the right wing, then cut inside and beat Allen.
NOTES: Montreal captain Shea Weber missed a fourth game with an upper-body injury. Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme says the veteran defenseman will also miss Montreal’s two games against Toronto later this week. … Ottawa forward Evgenii Dadonov missed the game with an upper-body injury. … Petry had his five-game point streak end. … Montreal goaltender Carey Price (concussion) skated without equipment earlier Wednesday and is expected to meet the team in Toronto later this week.