Gallagher’s return gives Canadiens a boost, but Senators triumph 6-3

A lack of discipline was Montreal’s undoing as the Habs faced Ottawa Tuesday at the Bell Centre.

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A lack of discipline was the Canadiens’ undoing as they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday at the Bell Centre.

The Senators scored two power-play goals and added an insurance goal on a delayed penalty call.

They snapped a 3-3 tie at the 29-second mark of the third period when Drake Batherson deflected a shot from Josh Norris for Ottawa’s second power-play goal of the game.

Batherson added an assist midway through the period when Colin White scored after a delayed penalty that gave the Senators a 6-on-5 advantage.

Austin Watson completed the scoring with an empty-netter for his second goal of the game, and Justin Barron limped off with a leg injury after trying to break up the play.

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One bright spot for Montreal was the return of spark-plug Brendan Gallagher. He returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a lower-body injury, and didn’t waste any time making his presence felt. He was in his office in front of the net when he picked up the rebound of a shot by  Jake Evans and beat Anton Forsberg at 2:21 of the first period. It was the sixth of the season for Gallagher, who has missed 26 games because of injury and COVID.

There was a gaping hole to the right of the goaltender because he was pushed by Mike Hoffman. He made an effort to stop the puck by sticking out his right leg, but the shot caught the outside of his skate before going in. The Senators challenged for goaltender interference, but the wise men in Toronto ruled that Hoffman was pushed into Forsberg by Ottawa defenceman Artem Zub.

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Evans took advantage of a giveaway by Dylan Gambrell deep in the Montreal zone and skated to the middle of the ice before firing from the slot.

The Canadiens gave that one back late in the period when Corey Schueneman, who was not being pressured, put the puck onto Watson’s stick in the faceoff circle and he beat Jake Allen high on the glove side.

Mistakes and power plays led to a wide-open second period.

An interference penalty to Cole Caufield at 7:12 touched off a wild 39 seconds.

Tim Stutzle scored a power-play goal six seconds after Caufield was sent off. He scored after Allen made two saves from in close.

Rookie defenceman Barron tied the game with his first NHL goal 32 seconds later. The 20-year-old, who was acquired from Colorado in the Artturi Lehkonen trade, took advantage of a giveaway by Nick Holden and scored on a shot from the top of the faceoff circle.

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Brady Tkachuk scored his 24th goal to give Ottawa a 3-2 lead, but Caufield got that one back with a power-play goal at 16:25. It was his 16th goal and his 15th in 25 games since Martin St. Louis took over as head coach. Gallagher picked up an assist on the goal.

The Canadiens went 1-for-3 on the power play with five shots on goal, while the Senators were 2-for-3 with six shots.

The Canadiens will be back on the road for the rest of the week. They are in New Jersey Thursday to play the Devils and resume their long-standing rivalry with the Maple Leafs Saturday in Toronto.

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