OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators needed a big effort from their top players on Saturday and they received it.
The Senators capped off a weekend of festivities with an impressive 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at the NHL 100 Classic outdoor game in front of 33,959 fans at TD Place.
Ottawa controlled the game from start to finish and had outstanding performances from goaltender Craig Anderson, who made 28 saves for his 40th career shutout, and captain Erik Karlsson, who played a season-high 32:55 and had one assist.
"We knew we needed to have a good game," said Karlsson. "We didn’t know what to expect, what type of game it was going to be, but I think we came out strong and we finished strong. I don’t think we strayed from the kind of game that needed to be played in an atmosphere like this."
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Bobby Ryan and Nate Thompson, into an empty net, scored for the Senators (11-13-7), who won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month.
Carey Price was kept busy as he stopped 35 shots for the Canadiens (14-15-4), but didn’t get any offensive support to help his cause.
The Canadiens failed to take advantage of an Ottawa team that had been struggling of late and know this was a missed opportunity.
"We know where we are in the standings, we know it’s a division game and it doesn’t matter the hype, doesn’t matter the outside noise," said Montreal captain Max Pacioretty. "We didn’t play a strong game and that never feels good."
The temperature at puck drop was -10.8 C., and dropped throughout the game to -25 C. with wind chill, but it was an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
"I think that’s the coldest I’ve ever been," said Ryan. "The fans came out and made it a heck of a night by being loud and being engaged and when the home team gets two points and the city can rally around it for a great event makes it all the better.
"It was worth every second of it. We had a blast."
Trailing 1-0 heading into the third the Canadiens pushed a little harder, but had very few scoring chances aside from one where Philip Danault slid his shot through the crease.
With just under three minutes to go in the third Jonathan Drouin had a brutal giveaway in his own zone and Ryan made the most of it, breaking in alone and beating Price to give the Senators a 2-0 lead.
It was Ryan’s second goal in as many games. He says he finally feels like his game is turning around since breaking his index finger in October.
Thompson added an empty-net goal with 10 seconds left.
The Senators were finally rewarded for a strong effort at 14:55 of the second as Pageau tipped a Karlsson point shot to get Ottawa on the board.
Pageau now has eight career goals against the Canadiens.
"To score that goal was pretty special," said Pageau, a Gatineau, Que., native. "When I scored that goal and your goalie doesn’t give one it makes it easier. I think we played a really solid game and obviously when the atmosphere’s that loud the energy level is always up."
Ottawa tested Price earlier in the period as well when Mike Hoffman had three shots on an early power play, and Matt Duchene had a great chance only to see the Montreal netminder make a blocker save.
A scoreless first period saw the Senators outshoot the Canadiens 15-8.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman were on hand for the festivities. Trudeau was seen shaking hands with the Senators as they made their way to the ice.
Former member of the Montreal Canadiens, Guy Lafleur, and Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson dropped the puck for the ceremonial faceoff.
The Canadiens now head out for a three-game western Canadian road swing, while the Senators host Minnesota Tuesday night before a two-game road trip through Florida before the Christmas break.
Notes: Ottawa LW Nick Paul was a healthy scratch, while D Joe Morrow and LW Jacob De La Rose were scratched for Montreal.