It was an entertaining back-and-forth game with Montreal trying to pull even with the Sens throughout the evening. Anton Forsberg had a good night in the Ottawa goal, putting up 35 saves.
Down 5-3 with 5:19 remaining, Montreal went on the power play but failed to take advantage. Ottawa then sealed the deal with an empty-net goal.
The Habs (16-9-9) came into the game riding a three-game win streak sandwiched around a nine-day hiatus due to COVID-19 protocols. Ottawa (13-21-4) had lost two straight, including a 4-1 defeat Thursday in Montreal.
Josh Anderson scored twice and Tyler Toffoli added a single for Montreal. Nick Suzuki and Shea Weber each contributed a pair of assists. Toffoli, returning after missing the last three games through injury, upped his season goal total to 19 and was dangerous all night.
Brady Tkachuk, Connor Brown and Drake Batherson, into an empty net with 2:55 remaining, also scored for Ottawa. Thomas Chabot tallied a pair of helpers. Tkachuk was an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick on the night after fighting Canadiens captain Weber in the first period.
Forsberg made his second start of the season _ and the 50th of his NHL career. At the other end, Carey Price was looking for his 50th career shutout but instead stopped 26-of-31 shots on the night.
Ottawa was handed an early opportunity when Brendan Gallagher was assessed a double high-sticking minor after just 28 seconds. Tkachuk took advantage 14 seconds later, stuffing the puck in after Batherson found him at the edge on the crease for his 12th of the season.
Toffoli replied on the power play at 5:31, with a howitzer of a one-timer from the faceoff circle. Playing on a line with Jonathan Drouin and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Toffoli could have had two more in the period but was stopped by Forsberg.
Forsberg took a blast from Weber off the shoulder midway through the first.
Brown scored for the Sens shorthanded at 12:07, poking in a rebound off a Nick Paul shot after Braydon Coburn held off a Hab to get the puck out of the Ottawa end and set up the rush.
Tkachuk and Weber dropped the gloves with 3:26 remaining in the first period after exchanging pleasantries with their sticks around the net. Score it a draw, which likely counts as a win for Tkachuk given the opposition.
The two have history, with Tkachuk needing dental work after an errant Weber stick in a game on Feb. 23.
After Price made back-to-back saves to deny the Senators, the Canadiens tied it up at 2-2 at 6:58 of the second period with Anderson beating Forsberg glove-side with a high shot. Ottawa answered 51 seconds later with Dadonov tipping home a Thomas Chabot shot through traffic from the point.
Dadonov made it 4-2 at 16:04 after both Montreal defencemen headed behind the net to coral Anisimov, only to see him send the puck to his fellow Russian left unmarked in the slot. It was Dadonov’s 11th of the season.
Anderson scored his 13th with 72 seconds remaining in the second period, beating Forsberg with Montreal’s Corey Perry making a nuisance of himself on the doorstep to cut the lead to 4-3.
Gallagher headed to the Montreal locker-room late in the second after an attempted bodycheck at the boards but returned for the start of the third and came close to beating Forsberg on an early rush.
Anisimov restored Ottawa’s two-goal lead at 2:55 of the third, beating Price after Jeff Petry lost the puck near the Montreal goal.
NOTES: Newly acquired centre Eric Staal, his quarantine nearly complete, is expected to make his Canadiens debut Monday against visiting Edmonton. Ottawa plays at Winnipeg the same night. The Senators have signed 19-year-old Val-d’Or Foreurs defenceman Maxence Guenette, a seventh-round pick (187th overall) in the 2019 NHL draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.