Price makes 30 saves as Canadiens top Senators 4-1
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes a save against the Ottawa Senators during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Sunday, March 19, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
MONTREAL (AP) Carey Price stopped shots left and right - and even made some nifty moves to keep the puck out of the net.
Price made 30 saves for his 33rd win of the season and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Sunday night to sweep the home-and-home series.
With Montreal leading 2-1 in the second, Price was at his best when Kyle Turris fired a one-timer that appeared headed for the back of the net. But the Canadiens goalie sprang to his right and did the splits to get his toe on the puck.
"That's just fun to watch," teammate Jordie Benn said of Price's save. "If I did that I'd blow my hamstrings off. He's an amazing goalie. He's there to save us."
Benn, Tomas Plekanec, Paul Byron and Nathan Beaulieu scored for the Canadiens, who lead the Atlantic Division by four points over the Senators, who still have one game in hand.
Tom Pyatt scored a first-period goal for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots.
The Canadiens also beat the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday, winning 4-3 in a shootout. Price made 28 saves in that game, while Anderson stopped 29 shots in defeat.
"It's very upsetting to lose to Montreal two days in a row, but they played well and showed they are a quality team," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said. "They executed really well on the back-to-back and we couldn't do the same."
The Senators have lost four games in a row after winning six straight to start the month. Ottawa and Montreal face off once more before the end of the season: next Saturday at the Bell Centre.
"These were fun games to play, even though we were on the losing side," Karlsson said. "We learned a great deal from it. We're going to figure this out. There are no worries. Hopefully by next Saturday we have something new to throw at them."
With Montreal leading 2-1 in the third period Sunday, Byron made it a two-goal lead for the Canadiens when he went five-hole on Anderson at 3:30, opting to shoot while on a 2-on-1 with Plekanec.
The goal was Byron's 20th of the season. He also added an assist on Montreal's first goal of the game.
"It was pretty special," Byron said. "I didn't think I would be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL. I've come a long way to reach that. It's definitely a special moment. My wife and kids are here in the rink, so it's pretty cool for them to see."
Beaulieu made in 4-1, on the power play, scoring with a slap shot from the blue line with Anderson screened by Artturi Lekhonen at 5:08.
Montreal is now 8-4-2 in the second game of a back-to-back. The Senators are 6-4-1.
Sunday's game had big playoff implications, and the energy on the ice and atmosphere in the stands were definitely playoff-like. Montreal came out flying, only needing 28 seconds to get the sell-out crowd off its feet.
Plekanec scored his first goal since Jan. 24 when Andrei Markov's shot from the point bounced off Anderson's chest and fell right to the veteran center in the crease for his eighth of the season.
The lead was short-lived as Pyatt scored the equalizer at 4:36 of the first when his shot from close range deflected off Benn's stick and skipped over Price's outstretched pad.
Benn made up for the mistake later in the same period when his shot from the point deflected off Viktor Stalberg's stick to beat Anderson glove side at 17:45.
NOTES: Price only faced six shots in the second period, but needed to be at his best when Kyle Turris fired a one-timer. The Canadiens goalie sprang to his right and did the splits to get his toe on the puck. ... Montreal's Alexei Emelin was back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch in Ottawa. ... The Canadiens are 10-4-0 under Claude Julien. ... Torrey Mitchell played his 600th NHL game.
Senators: at Boston on Tuesday night.
Canadiens: host Detroit on Tuesday night.
Updated March 20, 2017