Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kovalev, Fisher lead Senators to a thumping of the Habs Alex Kovalev watches the puck trickle past Carey Price – Photo: Sun Media

Former Hab Alex Kovalev had a goal and an assist and Mike Fisher had a hat-tick and an assist as the Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 Saturday night in Kanata.

Unlike the night before at the Bell Centre, Scotiabank place was full of empty seats for the pre-season contest. I even checked the Senators ticket site and cold find 10th row seats in section 105 at 6pm.

The seats that were occupied had quite a lot of fans of the Bleu-Blanc et Rouge in them.

Kovalev heard the jeers of disgruntled Canadiens fans early in the game every time he touched the puck.

The Russian forward replied with a short-handed wrist shot through the legs of Carey Price to open the scoring.

“It was important to get the win,” he said. “We played a complete game.”

Kovalev tried to downplay the importance of playing his former team, but he had to have been surprised by the mixed reactions emanating from the crowd.

"I couldn't understand where I was playing - Ottawa, Montreal or somewhere in between," he said.

"It doesn't matter if they're cheering or booing, you know, you've got the crowd, you've got a lot of people who watched the game and that's what makes it exciting."

Montreal would score on the power-play later in the period when Jaroslav Spacek blasted a shot off the point to beat Pascal LeClaire.

Fisher scored on the man advantage for Ottawa late in the period.

Fisher and Peter Regin each scored even-strength goals in the second period. Fisher then got his trick in the third period, while Josh Hennessy closed out the scoring.

Pascal LeClaire made 23 saved and played the whole 60 minutes for the Senators.

Price struggled in the Canadiens net, making 12 saves on 16 shots through the first two periods.

“It’s gonna take a while to get back to md-season form,” he said. “We need to prepare a little bit better, it’s not an excuse.”

The Habs netminder was also asked on Kovalev scoring on him, having faced him in practice on several occasions in the past.

“It went straight through my legs,” he said. “He’s a good player and I’ve been watching him shoot for the last two years. Sometimes he’s gonna beat you. That’s what good players do. It’s something we’re going to have to get used to now.”

Cedric Desjardins stopped five of seven for Montreal in the third.

Eric Neilson, who dropped the gloves on three occasions in Friday’s win over the Senators, had a rematch with Matt Carkner early in the first period.

The aspiring Canadien’s tough guy’s discipline did not show up Saturday though, as he also left the Canadiens shorthanded twice and was in the penalty box when Fisher completed his hat trick.

“To me it’s about preparation,” said Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin. “ It doesn’t matter whether it’s pre-season or regular season. We had a good start, but there were some mistakes and they capitalized.”

Martin stated that he will go two more games before he begins cutting the roster down to size.

“That’s what training camp is for,” he said. You get to know your people, you take notice of what each individual brings, but you need to be ready on October 1st.”

The Canadiens play their next pre-season game Sunday, in Quebec City, against the Boston Bruins.

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