OTTAWA – Mike Fisher stole Alex Kovalev’s spotlight Saturday night.
Fisher had three goals and an assist as the Ottawa Senators finally earned a pre-season victory with a 6-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place.
Ex-Canadien Kovalev had a goal and an assist in his first game against his old teammates. Kovalev wasn’t in the lineup Friday night in Montreal when the Senators fell 2-1 to the Canadiens.
The right winger spent five seasons with the Canadiens before signing as a free agent with the Senators on July 6. He had 103 goals and 264 points in 314 games with Montreal.
“The win was really important and I thought overall we played a really good game,” said Kovalev, who insisted the game didn’t mean any more to him because it was against his old team.
“It’s always strange when you get traded and when you walk into a building where you used to play and you see the guys you used to play with. It’s a little bit strange but it goes away real quick.”
Peter Regin had a goal and two assists for the Senators (1-3-0). Josh Hennessy also scored while Nick Foligno had four assists. Pascal Leclaire played the whole game in the Ottawa goal making 23 saves.
Jaroslav Spacek, who was acquired as a free agent in the summer, had the lone goal for the Canadiens (2-1-0). Carey Price played the first two periods stopping 12 of 16 shots he faced. Cedric Desjardins played the third period and had five saves on seven shots.
“There are things we are going to have to work on,” Price said. “We need to prepare a little bit better and once we get down to normal numbers the guys will come together a little better. We’re kind of on our own pages right now and once we cut down to our team, we’ll get better.”
Kovalev opened the scoring for the Senators with a shorthanded mark. After Spacek tied it at one, Fisher scored his first on the power play to make it 2-1 after the first period.
Fisher and Regin each scored even-strength goals in the second period. Fisher completed his hat trick with a power-play goal at 7:57 in the third period before Hennessy capped the scoring.
“It was obviously a good game for us,” Fisher said. “We did some good things on the power play, the goaltending was good, Pascal was good and I thought we competed hard.
“It’s always nice to score. I’ve just got to make sure I’m getting better, doing the little things I need to score and getting some momentum, both the team and myself, and bring that into the regular season.”
Canadiens hopeful Eric Neilson continued his feisty play as he fought with Senators defenceman Matt Carkner early in the first period. Neilson had three fights Friday including one against Carkner.
With his three-point night Regin is making it tough on coach Cory Clouston to not make room for him on the Senators roster once the regular season rolls around.
“He’s playing well and I thought he was much, much better (Saturday) than he was in the second game,” Clouston said.
“He’s a lot more creative yet he’s still responsible defensively and I think that was a difference. He doesn’t sacrifice his defensive positioning for creativity and that was why he was so much more effective. That and obviously his line mates played well too.”
Notes: After assigning six players to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League and two players to their junior clubs Saturday, the Senators training camp roster now stands at 32 players: three goaltenders, 10 defenceman and 19 forwards. . . Out of the 50 players still at the Canadiens camp, 19 have never played a regular season NHL game.