MONTREAL – Daniel Alfredsson’s three points were not so unusual, but the Ottawa Senators have to be a little surprised with the contributions of newcomers Mike Brodeur and Zack Smith.
Brodeur made 30 saves to improve his goaltending record to 3-0-0, Smith scored his first NHL goal and Alfredsson returned from injury with a goal and two assists as the Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Saturday night.
“I was a little nervous, but that’s when you play best,” said Brodeur.
On Thursday, he shut out the Rangers in New York after being called up from AHL Binghamton when No. 1 goalie Pascal Leclaire suffered a concussion during a morning skate.
Brodeur was a little shaky at times before the sellout crowd of 21,273 in Montreal, but made the saves he needed as the Senators (24-21-4) took two big points from Northeast Division rival Montreal (23-22-4).
A highlight was getting the job done when Montreal fired six shots at him on a power play late in the game.
“I’m floating right now, that’s for sure,” added Brodeur, who no doubt will be in the net again when Ottawa ends a five-game road trip Monday in Boston. “The guys did a great job blocking shots, especially on the power play. There were shots I didn’t see.”
Chris Phillips scored the game-winner in the second period and Mike Fisher added an empty-net goal with 26 seconds left for Ottawa.
Benoit Pouliot and Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal. The Habs wound up a four-game homestand and next play the Rangers on Sunday night, marking Scott Gomez’ first game in New York since he was dealt to Montreal last summer.
Carey Price made 24 saves for Montreal and didn’t look especially sharp, but what hurt more was that the Canadiens’ league-leading power play went 0-for-6.
“Our goaltending was excellent,” said coach Jacques Martin. “Special teams was the difference – not our goaltender.”
Smith, in his fifth game this season since a call-up from the AHL, got his first goal not only before a full house at the Bell Centre but with family and friends back home in Maple Creek, Sask., watching on Hockey Night In Canada.
Pouliot lost the puck off his stick in the neutral zone and Alfredsson sent the 21-year-old down the right side to beat Price with a high shot while short-handed at 11:26. It was Smith’s first goal and point.
“We were joking that I hit a post the other night at Madison Square Garden, but to get the goal here in front of these fans was pretty special,” said Smith. “I was just trying to get it on net.
“In one respect, you’re happy just to be here, but you also want to contribute.”
Pouliot made up for it just after the penalty to Fisher ended, as he was left alone in front of the net to beat Brodeur with a shot that went in off a post at 12:49.
Another power play had just ended when Plekanec wheeled around and fired a shot from a tight angle that went in off Brodeur’s pad 2:05 into the second frame.
Alfredsson tied it at 3:45 as he backhanded the rebound of a Matt Carkner shot between Price’s pads and Phillips put Ottawa ahead when his point shot eluded the Montreal goaltender at 5:07.
Alfredsson returned in grand style to haunt a team he has dominated through his career. The Swedish veteran has 97 points in 73 career games against the Canadiens.
“I felt sluggish at the start but it was better and better as the game went on,” said the Senators’ captain.
Notes: Coach Cory Clouston said Saturday morning that defenceman Filip Kuba would return from an upper-body injury, but he did not dress. Alfredsson’s return bumped Kaspars Daugavins from the lineup … Ryan O’Byrne, who took four games off to be with an ailing family member, was scratched for a second straight game since his return … Obscure stat: Brian Gionta’s two goals Thursday against Dallas made him the first player with two or more goals in his 500th career game since Olli Jokinen on Nov. 25, 2005.