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Canadiens vs. Senators game recap: Bilbo begins his tale

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Cole Caufield’s first career goal is befitting of an epic Hollywood movie.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Timing, they, say, is everything.

For a couple of games, it looked like it was only a matter of time before Cole Caufield would score his first NHL goal. He was creating chances and his confidence was growing.

It finally came, at the perfect time. Caufield scored with 2:35 remaining in overtime to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Everything about the goal came down to timing. From Jeff Petry’s delay, to Caufield turning on the jets to beat everyone to the net. The goal completed the Canadiens’ comeback from being down 2-0 early in the third period.

With the goal Caufield became the second Canadiens player to score their first career goal in overtime. The only other player to do so was Gerry Heffernan on December 11, 1941. With the win, Montreal moves within two points of the Winnipeg Jets for third in the NHL’s North Division.

The Senators had the first scoring chance of the game when Ryan Dzingel had a breakaway in the game’s second minute. Primeau made the save and the danger quickly cleared away.

Ottawa had more good chances but both Connor Brown and Josh Brown hit the post behind Primeau. Then Victor Mete and Michael Amadio were also stopped by the Canadiens goaltender. Primeau was making his second start of the season, and made 21 saves in the win.

Montreal had chances of their own through the first period, including a shot off the rush by Joel Edmundson and a great move behind the net by Corey Perry that led to a chance.

The second period started with chances on both ends, but Tyler Toffoli drew the game’s first penalty. The Canadiens generated offence on the power play, but were unable to find the game’s first goal.

After the power play, Joel Armia had a chance in front, but couldn’t get the puck past Filip Gustavsson.

The two teams went back and forth with free-flowing action. Midway through the second period, Alexander Romanov laid a big hit on Josh Norris, the two ended up both going off for fighting. It was a spirited affair with two enthusiastic but inexperienced participants.

Ottawa opened the scoring with over five minutes remaining in the period when Tim Stützle fired a wrist shot from the top of the zone that made its way through traffic and past Primeau.

The Canadiens pushed back for the equalizer, with chances from Ben Chiarot and Tyler Toffoli, among others but their attack was thwarted by a too many players penalty in the final minute of the period.

In the opening minute of the third, a potential two-on-two break was negated and a five-on-three created when Phillip Danault took a high sticking penalty. Montreal killed both penalties and the best chance on the power play came on a good break for the Canadiens. A clearing attempt by Romanov hit a broken stick and allowed Montreal to get a two-on-one but Jake Evans couldn’t convert.

Stützle had a breakaway and a great chance to get his second of the game but his shot was stopped by Primeau’s blocker.

Ottawa did get the second goal a few minutes later when Thomas Chabot fired a wrist shot past Primeau for his sixth of the year.

Montreal got one right back 2:21 later when Jeff Petry made an insane move to fake out Erik Brannstrom to open up space for himself and scored his 12th goal of the year with a perfectly placed snap shot.

Brannstrom was stuck having to read Petry’s eyes with the threat of Toffoli coming down on him, but it just opened up the slot for the Montreal defender.

The goal gave the Canadiens a boost with over half of the final period to play. They appeared to get the equalizer just a few minutes later when Nick Suzuki scored a power play goal, but after video review it was called off for goaltender interference. Corey Perry was deemed to make contact with Gustavsson prior to the goal going in.

Jake Evans drew another penalty about a minute after the previous one expired as the Canadiens dominated the final frame. On the ensuing power play, Suzuki found Tyler Toffoli for a one-timer from the left circle and the forward made no mistake. The slap shot found the back of the net and tied the game at 2-2. It was Toffoli’s 27th goal of the season. There was no calling this one back.

The Canadiens continued to pressure after finding the equalizer and the Senators struggled to keep up and get back on the attack. In the final 20 minutes, Montreal outshot the Senators 18-3 and the shots at goal were 28-10.

Montreal now has a day off on Sunday before getting back at it against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

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