Hab-nots sink Senators

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes save on Senators forward Milan Michalek at the Bell Centre...

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes save on Senators forward Milan Michalek at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Que., March 14, 2012. (CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:59 PM ET

MONTREAL - There’s exactly one-foot height difference between Senators goalie Ben Bishop and the Habs’ David Desharnais, but Wednesday at Bell Centre, Desharnais came out on top in a battle of the two.

After making a couple of big saves off the diminutive centre in each of the first two periods, the 6-foot-7 Bishop was beaten by a Desharnais deflection in the third and again for the only goal in the shootout.

The Senators missed a chance to grab a slice of first place in the Northeast Division, but the point they gained in the 3-2 loss moved them to within one of Boston.

Bishop, who remains undefeated in regulation through four starts (2-0-2) wound up stopping 24 shots while Carey Price made 35 saves.

“It was a good tip,” Bishop said of the Desharnais goal that broke a 1-1 tie at the 24-second mark of the third period. “One of those floaters that’s going the other way, and he tips it completely the opposite way.”

As for Desharnais’ shootout goal through the five-hole, Bishop said: “I thought I was right with him. I didn’t open up at all. I thought I had it actually. I was surprised when I saw it go in.”

Erik Karlsson tied things for the Senators with his 19th goal and 70th point of the season at 11:01 of the third. It was a prime example of Karlsson’s quickly developing smarts. From the right point, he faked a shot that allowed for a would-be blocker to skate through the lane. Karlsson then released a wrist shot through the legs of winger Ryan White and just under Carey Price’s trapper.

In overtime, Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec hit a post and Matt Gilroy just missed an open side with a backhand.

Ottawa dropped its second straight in a shootout (5-4 on the season) as Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson were stopped by Price. It was Alfredsson’s first shootout miss of the season after scoring on all five previous chances.

“Originally I thought something else, then I came in and he gave me a lot of room, then took it away,” said Alfredsson. “I was a little frustrated that I didn’t stay more patient.”

Bishop made some big saves earlier in the game, and on two of them his victim was Desharnais. In the sixth minute, with Karlsson caught up ice and Max Pacioretty and Desharnais on a 2-on-1, the latter’s low shot at an open side was stopped by Bishop’s left skate.

And with time ticking down in the second period, Desharnais broke in alone only to get stuffed by the Ottawa goalie. Bishop also made a big right pad stop off Rene Bourque in the middle period.

Desharnais’ tie-breaker was the first red-light action since the teams traded goals 26 seconds apart in the first period.

Erik Cole put the Habs on the board during a 1-on-1 with Karlsson. Bishop stopped Cole’s initial shot, but gave up a rebound the Montreal winger easily banged home.

The building rocked in celebration, as even ref Greg Kimmerly was high-fived by Cole.

“He was the only guy out there to celebrate with,” Cole said. “His hand was there, so I slapped it, but he kinda took it away.”

Ottawa’s first was scored Colin Greening, who finished off Michalek’s fanned-shot toward an inviting cage for his 14th of the season.

“We created a lot of chances,” said Spezza, who had an assist on the Greening goal. “At times we played well and at times we let them slow the game down a little too much ...play too much neutral zone ping-pong. They’re playing a real strict system right now, and makes it difficult. To leave here with a shootout win, we’re happy. And you get to a shootout, it’s 50-50, so we’ll take the point, regroup and watch the tape, and figure out what we have to do better.”

The Senators, who have only one shootout win to show for four games (1-2-1) against the last-place Habs this season, get another crack at them when the teams reconvene at Scotiabank Place Friday.

“I thought we played a pretty solid road game,” coach Paul MacLean said before he hand his team climbed aboard the train back to Ottawa. “But for the most part, this team doesn’t bring the best out in us, for some reason. We don’t seem to be able to skate the way we’ve skated when we’re successful. For whatever reason we don’t skate very good against this team, and we have to find a solution to that. They play us real well.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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