Canadiens end their slump with victory over Senators
LOS ANGELES - Reuters
Montreal Canadiens ended their five-game losing streak with a comfortable 6-2 victory over fellow Canadian team Ottawa Senators in a National Hockey League (NHL) game played at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. AFP photoThe Montreal Canadiens exploded out of a five-game losing streak to beat division rivals Ottawa 6-2 on Dec. 27 and give interim coach Randy Cunneyworth his first taste of success.
Cunneyworth, who replaced the fired Jacques Martin, had lost his first four games in charge but watched Montreal’s offense come alive on Tuesday as they rebounded from Zack Smith’s goal to score five in a row and grab the game by the throat.
“I think relief is one word, but obviously we’re pleased,” Cunneyworth told reporters. “We expected it sooner, but going forward we want it to happen more often. It’s no secret, we had it in our minds that we were going to get the puck to the net.”
Lars Eller, Tomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri scored in the first period to make it 3-1 before Louis Leblanc and P.K. Subban found the net in the second to pad the lead further.
“The floodgates opened for us,” Eller said. “We got one, then two and we just kept going. It’s been a while since we’ve had that feeling. It doesn’t necessarily carry over automatically (to the next game), but it was big for us.”
Ottawa’s Jason Spezza reduced the deficit to 5-2 before Erik Cole scored the Canadiens’ sixth.
The win moved Canadiens (14-16-7) within four points of Ottawa (17-15-5) in the Northeast.
Milan Michalek returned to the Senators line-up and had an assist. Michalek led the NHL with 19 goals before sustaining a concussion two weeks ago.