Will open regular season next Wednesday night against Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre after going 0-6-2 during preseason.
BOUCTOUCHE, N.B. — The Canadiens couldn’t win a single preseason game — not even with a little help from the Ottawa Senators.
The Canadiens lost 3-2 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators in a Kraft Hockeyville game Saturday night at the J.K. Irving Centre with Drake Batherson scoring the winning goal on a power play. Derick Brassard and Scott Sabourin also scored for the Senators, while the Canadiens got goals from Cole Caufield and Kaiden Guhle.
It was the eighth and final preseason game for both teams and the Canadiens finish with an 0-6-2 record, while the Senators were 5-3-0 with four of their wins coming against Montreal.
The Senators did the Canadiens a favour — but not the roughly 1,100 fans in attendance at the packed arena — by not dressing several of their top players, including Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle, Claude Giroux, Alex DeBrincat, Thomas Chabot and Josh Norris.
Anton Forsberg started in goal for the Senators while wearing a Seattle Kraken mask, pads and gloves. Ottawa claimed Forsberg off waivers from the Kraken last week after the announcement that goalie Cam Talbot would be out for 5-7 weeks due to an upper-body injury.
Batherson only forward from the Senators’ top two lines who was in the lineup.
This was the second straight Kraft Hockeyville game for these two teams after the Senators beat the Canadiens 4-3 Thursday night in Gander, N.L.
“I think I saw what I needed to see the other night from those guys and eight games is a lot of exhibition games,” Senators head coach D.J. Smith said after his team’s morning skate about his decision to rest so many top players. “Some guys here that are on the cusp are going to get a chance here tonight, especially for the goalie. It’s an opportunity for him to get in, so we’ll try and play good in front of him.”
For the Senators, this was their fourth straight preseason game against the Canadiens, who were facing Ottawa for a third straight game.
There was some bad blood in the third period of Thursday night’s game when the Canadiens’ Arber Xhekaj dropped the gloves Austin Watson after the Senator threw a big hit on Kirby Dach. Earlier, Xhekaj had knocked Stützle to the ice in front of the net.
Last season, the Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher criticized Stützle for diving and pretending to be injured while lying on the ice. Smith felt the Canadiens were targeting his top players, including Stützle in Thursday’s game.
“Well, there was a little bit (of bad blood) there at the end of last game,” Smith said after the morning skate. “We’ve got a group in there tonight that will handle that and we’ll be fine.”
There was no real bad blood in this game with the Senators looking to stay healthy for the start of the regular season and the Canadiens already dealing with injuries to Nick Suzuki, Joel Armia, Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Emil Heineman, who were all out of the lineup
Caufield opened the scoring for the Canadiens with a power-play goal at 8:47 of the first period on a wicked wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle, beating Forsberg high over his blocker on the short side after some nice give-and-go passing with Chris Wideman. It was the fourth goal of the preseason for Caufield.
Brassard tied it up 1-1 at 3:48 of the second period with a power-play goal while No. 1 overall draft pick Juraj Slafkovsky was in the penalty box for tripping.
Sabourin gave the Senators the lead at 15:17 of the second period before Guhle scored on a shot Forsberg should have stopped at the 18:40 mark to send the teams into the third period tied 2-2.
It stayed that way until overtime when Batherson potted the winner with Chris Wideman in the penalty box for interference.
Jake Allen, who grew up in Fredericton, N.B., and had friends and family members in the stands who made the two-hour drive to Bouctouche, played the whole game in goal for the Canadiens.
The Canadiens will open the regular season on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).
Thankfully for them, their preseason record doesn’t count.
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