Caufield scores game-winner as Canadiens beat Senators
Posted Sep 28, 2023 08:51:52 AM.
Last Updated Sep 28, 2023 12:01:46 PM.
Star sniper Cole Caufield scored the game-winning goal and added an assist as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in NHL pre-season action Wednesday night.
Brandon Gignac, Juraj Slafkovsky and Sean Monahan also scored for Montreal (1-1-0).
Mathieu Joseph scored twice and Dominik Kubalik had a goal for an inexperienced Ottawa team (2-1-0). The Senators’ top six forwards and top four defencemen didn’t make the trip to Montreal.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) September 28, 2023
Canadiens starter Jake Allen turned away 10 of 12 shots before giving way to Cayden Primeau midway through the game. Primeau had 15 saves.
Ottawa netminder Joonas Korpisalo made his first appearance in a Senators jersey after signing a five-year, US$20-million contract in free agency, and stopped 17 shots playing a complete game. The 29-year-old is expected to split crease duties this season with Anton Forsberg.
Montreal went 1-for-6 on the power play. Ottawa was 1-for-8.
Tied 3-3 in the third period, Caufield scored a power-play goal with 8:17 remaining to give Montreal the lead. The Canadiens then held off sustained pressure from the Senators in the final minutes to secure the win.
Down 2-0, Ottawa scored three unanswered goals in the second period. The last two were Joseph’s, whose name has circulated in trade rumours this week with the Senators needing salary cap space to sign restricted free agent Shane Pinto.
Montreal then tied it courtesy of Monahan, who buried a Caufield rebound five minutes into the third.
Monahan joined Canadiens stars Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki on Montreal’s top line for the evening.
Both Monahan and Caufield played in their first games since sustaining season-ending injuries last season. Monahan last played Dec. 5 due to a groin injury, while Caufield’s last outing was Jan. 19 because of a shoulder injury.
Korpisalo was tested early and often, stopping Canadiens forward Kirby Dach on a breakaway and a one-timer by Caufield from the half wall on the power play in the first five minutes.
Gignac then broke the ice at 13:33 of the first period, firing a pass from Jared Davidson from the slot to beat Korpisalo, who was slid into by defenceman Travis Hamonic.
Slafkovsky doubled the Canadiens’ lead seven minutes later with a shot from the low slot off a scramble after linemates Dach and Rafael Harvey-Pinard forechecked to keep the puck in Ottawa’s zone.
The 19-year-old Slafkovsky, last year’s No. 1 pick in the draft, was the only Canadiens forward playing in a second pre-season game. The Slovakian winger is aiming for a bounceback campaign after a slow rookie season — 10 points in 39 games — that was cut short due to injury.
Slafkovsky continued revolving around the action into the second period, when Dach sprang him on a breakaway early in the frame. Korpisalo, however, shut the door with a smooth glove save.
Then the Senators started to shift the momentum.
Off-season acquisition Kubalik cut the deficit to one 2:45 into the second with a one-timer at the side of the net that beat Allen.
Joseph then scored twice with seven minutes apart with powerful wrist shots, one that beat Allen and one past Primeau.
The 26-year-old Joseph from Laval, Que., who has a $2.95-million cap hit for three more years, had just three goals in 56 games last season.
The Senators had multiple chances to extend their lead, but the Canadiens struck twice in the third and didn’t look back.
Canadiens alternate captain Mike Matheson was a late scratch for precautionary reasons. The 29-year-old from Pointe-Claire, Que., was supposed to make his pre-season debut alongside David Savard on the top defensive pairing, but was replaced by Kaiden Guhle.
Montreal hosts Toronto for a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Ottawa heads home to play Winnipeg on Friday.