Senators score thrilling 5-4 shootout win over Habs

Ottawa’s regular season will now wind down with road games at New York and Boston on Monday and Tuesday.

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The Ottawa Senators bid their faithful a fond farewell Saturday night.

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Closing out the home portion of their 2023-24 schedule, the Senators scored a 5-4 shootout decision over the Montreal Canadiens in front of a packed house of 19,337 at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Captain Brady Tkachuk had a three-point effort, including two goals, while Shane Pinto and Thomas Chabot also chipped in with goals. Now the Senators will close out the National Hockey League season with back-to-back road games Monday against the New York Rangers and Tuesday versus the Boston Bruins.

Drake Batherson scored in the winner in the shootout.

Not long after Alex Kerfoot gave the Habs a 4-3 lead with fortunate bounce off the skate of Senators defenceman Jakob Chychrun, Chabot tied it up with a tip-in with 65 seconds remaining in the third period and Ottawa netminder Joonas Korpisalo replaced by an extra attacker.

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The Senators came into this game with eight straight victories against the Habs, having not lost to Montreal since a 5-1 decision on March 19, 2022.

Tkachuk scored twice on the power play, including one to tie it up 3-3 only 47 seconds into the third period, to reach a new career-high with 37 goals.

“It’s kind of sad,” said Tkachuk, who had a three-point effort. “Whenever you’re playing, it’s what you want to do. During the summer, you immediately miss the game and especially miss playing in front of this fanbase and city.

“You want to leave on a high note, but there’s definitely a little bit missing there that we’re hoping to accomplish this year. We just want to give our best effort to support and salute all our fans.”

Korpisalo wasn’t at his best, but there haven’t been many nights this season where he has been. Cayden Primeau was the only reason the Habs were still in this one.

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Cole Caufield gave the Habs a 3-2 lead by firing a blast by Korpisalo top shelf on the stick side at 13:05 of the second period. That was Caufield’s second goal of the night and it came on a power play after the Senators were assessed a minor for too many men on the ice … Ottawa centre Shane Pinto took a perfect a pass from Claude Giroux on the power play and fired a blast by Primeau. Pinto’s ninth goal of the season and his first in nine games, at 8:36 of the second, tied it up 2-2 … Chychrun saved a goal early in the second period, with Montreal already leading 2-1. He was able to push a loose puck rolling along the goal-line out of danger … Moments after Ottawa’s Erik Brannstrom missed the net on a breakaway, the Habs pulled out to a 2-1 lead on Caufield’s first of the game. He picked up a rebound and beat Korpisalo glove side with 18:23 left in the second period … Referee Riley Brace, who grew up in Fitzroy Harbour, made his NHL debut with friends and family in the stands. He was even given a rookie lap

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The Senators and Montreal were tied 1-1 after the first period. It was an entertaining period with shots even at 9-9 … The Habs challenged Tkachuk’s tying goal at 13:09 of the first period for goalie interference. He made some contact with Primeau, but not enough for Montreal coach Martin St. Louis to challenge it. The Senators ended up with another man-advantage … A tip of the cap to TSN stats whiz Jon Perlberg for this fact: Giroux’s assist on Tkachuk’s opening goal moved him into a tie for No. 72 place in all-time scoring with Brady’s father, Keith Tkachuk, with 1,065 points … The Habs opened the scoring with a short-handed goal. A turnover by Ottawa’s Jake Sanderson near the Montreal blue-line allowed Mike Matheson to break in alone and he beat Korpisalo on the stick side at 9:11 of the first period … Senators centre Mark Kastelic had to be helped to the dressing room. He appeared to take a shot off the helmet from Josh Anderson midway through the first. He went to the bench immediately and needed assistance to get down the hall to the dressing room … There was a brief power outage in the building during pre-game warmup.

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As noted in this space, Tkachuk is studying the idea of suiting up for the U.S. team at the IIHF world championship next month in Ostrava and Prague. “My sole focus when the season is happening is the season. It’s most likely trending towards that direction of playing and representing the country,” Tkachuk said. “I’ll probably talk more about that after the season.” Ottawa defenceman Jake Sanderson and centre Shane Pinto are also expected to suit up for the Americans … We’ve likely seen the last of centre Tim Stutzle with the Senators this season. He wasn’t on the ice for Saturday’s morning skate and missed his fifth straight game. With back-to-back games left, it would be pointless to play him … The Senators presented some season-ticket holders with their game-worn jerseys after the final buzzer.

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