OTTAWA – The losses are accumulating on and off the ice for the Ottawa Senators this week.
Thanks to a two-goal effort from Paul Byron, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Senators 5-2 on Thursday for the second time this week.
The two teams played the first of a home-and-home Tuesday that Montreal also won by the same score.
The two losses are disappointing for the Senators, but things could get worse as Ottawa was forced to play much of the game without Bobby Ryan and Matt Duchene.
Ryan played just one shift in the second period before leaving with an upper-body injury, while Duchene played just three minutes and 12 seconds of the second before leaving the game with a lower-body injury.
Senators head coach Guy Boucher didn’t sound overly optimistic regarding the prognosis for both, saying they could be out long term.
Losing Duchene would be a substantial hit for the Senators as he currently leads the team in points (34) and is second in goals (12).
“It’s unfortunate (losing two players), but it happens to a lot of teams,” said Ottawa’s Cody Ceci. “A lot of guys had to play a lot of minutes tonight, but can’t use that as an excuse.”
The second period was the difference in the game, much as it was on Tuesday.
“Both games the game slips away in that second period because of bad puck management,” said Boucher. “It doesn’t matter who you play against. If you don’t manage the puck well it’s going to haunt you.”
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Jeff Petry, Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw also scored for the Canadiens (14-10-5) as Carey Price stopped 19 shots.
Mark Stone and Colin White scored for the Senators (12-14-3) as Craig Anderson stopped 38-of-42 shots.
The Canadiens expected the Senators to come out hard looking for redemption after the loss earlier in the week, but were able to manage the game well.
“Once we tied the game I thought we handled the rest of the game pretty well,” said Canadiens coach Claude Julien.
“At 3-1 we kind of slipped again a little bit, but in the third period we picked it up. We played a good road game against a team that’s been successful at home and it was about being ready to play hard and I thought we did that for the most part.”
An unlucky bounce early in the third gave Montreal a 4-2 lead on Gallagher’s goal, and with 2:32 remaining Byron added an empty-net goal for his second of the night.
A couple defensive breakdowns by the Senators allowed the Canadiens to take a 3-2 lead after the second period.
“We just started skating,” said Byron. “They had a couple injuries so they were shorthanded down the middle and we knew if we kept skating and kept pushing it was going to make it harder on them.”
After Tom Pyatt failed to clear the puck the Canadiens gained control with Philip Danault making a cross-ice pass to a Byron making his way to the net to put the puck in.
Shaw made it 3-1 with his 100th career goal, beating Anderson from in close. But the Senators cut the lead back to one with a power-play goal late in the period.
“It wasn’t a good night for us,” said Anderson. “I think that’s the sum of all the parts. I think we definitely could have played better.
“It’s one of those things where back-to-back goals quickly in the second put us behind the eight ball and lost momentum and that’s where I’ve got to be a little bit better with it, but at the end of the day we weren’t able to recover.”
Price made a great save on Ryan Dzingel, but White was right there for the rebound for his eighth of the season.
An energizing first period saw the two teams tied 1-1.
Stone opened the scoring for the Senators midway through the period as he beat Price with a quick wrist shot.
The lead was short lived as the Canadiens tied the game 20 seconds later when Petry took a pass at the blue line and beat Anderson with a long wrist shot.
Thursday’s game marked the first of a three-game homestand for the Senators, while the Canadiens started a three-game road trip.
Notes: Ottawa remains without D Mark Borowiecki, who is recovering from an upper-body injury.