OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators were all about precaution Wednesday night.
While Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson played significant roles in Ottawa’s 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, neither was on the bench by the end of the game.
Ryan left with just over five minutes remaining in the second period after a collision behind the net, but returned shortly after. However the Senators opted on the side of caution and kept him out of the lineup for the third period.
Ryan was hit by Greg Pateryn and admitted he suffered a bit of a stinger from the contact.
“I think we erred on the side of caution which I certainly understand,” said Ryan. “It just kept shooting down my hand and I could feel it. The doctors made a decision to rest it and we’ll see how it feels (Thursday).”
Karlsson left the game late in the third, but said his leaving had nothing to do with his ankle. Last season Karlsson suffered a partially lacerated Achilles.
“It was just precaution, nothing serious,” said Karlsson, who had three assists. “It was nothing special, just a little bit tired and no need to play any more minutes.”
In addition, the Senators had also been without defenceman Patrick Wiercioch for the start of the second period, but he did return and finish the game.
Senators coach Paul MacLean did say, “it seems everyone’s going to be all right and nobody has anything that’s going to be long term. It was mostly just precautionary during the game to take people out to make sure nothing else happened.”
Aside from the injuries MacLean was pleased with the team’s overall play.
In addition to Ryan, Cory Conacher, Clarke MacArthur, Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad also scored for Ottawa, while Andrew Hammond made 24 saves.
Magnus Nygren and Raphael Diaz scored for Montreal, while Peter Budaj faced 32 shots.
The Senators are 4-1 in pre-season play, while the Canadiens are 2-3-1.
The teams meet again Thursday in Montreal.
This was their first meeting since the Senators eliminated the Canadiens last spring in the playoffs.
Montreal opened the scoring as Nygren beat Hammond with a shot from just inside the blueline.
Ottawa tied the game minutes later as Conacher fed a trailing MacArthur.
Ottawa ended the period with a 2-1 lead on Ryan’s power play goal.
The Senators made it 3-1 on Michalek’s goal as he managed to dig the puck out during a goal-mouth scramble and roofed it over Budaj.
Conacher made it 4-1 with a power play goal, while Zibanejad picked up his first of the pre-season to make it 5-1.
Conacher is one of four players MacLean is considering to play on the right side of Kyle Turris with MacArthur.
“The way he played (Wednesday) is an indication of how he can play and the abilities he has,” said MacLean. “That line was dangerous most of the night and he showed us what he can do and what he can bring to that line and that’s important.”
Hammond made some of his best saves in the third despite allowing a weak goal glove side to Diaz.
“After giving up the first shot like he did and then to come back and battle and play and he made some saves,” added MacLean. “We were impressed with him with the way that he played.”
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien admitted he felt his team was outplayed on this night and says he plans to play more of his veterans in Thursday’s game.
“This was likely the last game for some of our rookies,” admitted Therrien. “It was a good experience for them to play against a team that had a lot of veterans. They got to experience what a game is like at this level.”
Notes: G Nathan Lawson was scheduled to start the game, but was injured in the warm-up forcing Andrew Hammond into action.