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Canadiens vs. Senators 10 Takeaways: Beating Ottawa is always fun

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The Canadiens kept the Senators in their rear-view mirror, yet again.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

1. A Good Start

It’s always nice when the Canadiens have the audience sing the anthem. Amps up the atmosphere and sets the tone for a quality game. Perfect.

2. Brendan Gallagher

Gallagher spent the entire series vs Ottawa pissing people off, and that’s exactly what you want to see from the pesky winger. Methot last weekend, Phaneuf this game. Probably Craig Anderson too if he was being honest. He sacrifices the body every single shift and if you don’t think his teammates appreciate that, just look at Tomas Plekanec - Plekanec! - rushing to his defence after the dirty hit by Claesson.

3. Trouble clearing the zone

For the most part, when Ottawa managed to enter the offensive zone, they had no problems maintaining it for quite some time, leading to some quality scoring chances. Ottawa was often quicker to loose pucks and got sticks in the way of clearing passes. Thankfully, the Canadiens managed to escape unscathed.

4. The Middle of the ice

The Canadiens make great use of the boards. They do such a great job along the boards that sometimes, maybe often, they gave up the middle of the ice to the Senators very easily. It didn’t really burn them tonight, but that might be a thing to work on going forward.

5. Alex Radulov

After looking a little sluggish as of late, tonight Radulov was protecting the puck, being persistent, and moving his feet. This return to his aggressive play was directly responsible for the Canadiens’ first powerplay when Erik Karlsson sat for holding.

6. Speaking of that powerplay

Finally this thing looked like it had life. There was movement and chances and sustained pressure. I forgot this was possible. And goodness, that Shea Weber shot is beautiful.

7. Andrei Markov

Tonight was Markov’s second three point game vs the Senators this season. Quality goals at important times, putting this game out of reach for the Senators. The fact of the matter is Markov is still a key part of Montreal’s core, despite his rapid approach to 40.

8. Markov - Part 2

His vision is ridiculous. His pass up the ice to Gallagher for partial breakaway was vintage Markov. He looks rejuvenated now that he’s paired with Shea Weber, playing fewer minutes, albeit performing at an elite level when called upon.

9. An Important Game

This team shows up for big games. They bring it. They make you work for every inch when they’re on. In a perfect world, they would play like that 82+ games a year, no matter the opponent. Luckily, though, the playoffs are only big games.

10. Winning is fun!

Especially against those annoying Senators. The Canadiens are still in first place in the Atlantic, and there’s probably little to no worry in the locker room when it comes to the possibility of facing Ottawa in the playoffs.