Ilya Kovalchuk scored 4:08 into overtime as the visiting Montreal Canadiens snapped their second eight-game winless skid of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
With the teams playing in their third overtime game of the season, Kovalchuk slowly skated up the left wing before wiring a shot from the circle past Marcus Hogberg. The goal was Kovalchuk’s fourth of the season and first with Montreal after signing a one-year, two-way contract.
Rookie Nick Suzuki scored a power-play goal in the first period, and Carey Price finished with 41 saves for the Canadiens, whose last win was 6-2 over Winnipeg on Dec. 23.
The Canadiens also lost eight in a row when it went 0-5-3 from Nov. 16-Dec. 1. They went 0-7-1 in this latest skid.
Drake Batherson scored in the third period and Hogberg turned aside 23 shots for the Senators, who lost in a shootout and then in overtime on consecutive nights to extend their winless streak to a season-high seven games (0-4-3).
Montreal made Ottawa pay after defenseman Dylan DeMelo was whistled for a cross-checking penalty on Max Domi at 7:42 of the first period.
The Canadiens gained possession of the puck before defenseman Jeff Petry set up Suzuki, who wristed a shot from just above the right circle that sailed past Hogberg and into the left corner of the net to open the scoring at 8:24 of the first period.
It was Suzuki’s ninth of the season and second in three games against Ottawa.
Price made the slim advantage hold up after Chris Tierney forced a turnover by Petry at the opposing blue line to begin a partial breakaway. Tierney skated in on Price before the netminder closed the pads with 8:06 remaining in the second period.
Ottawa finally solved Price, albeit in an unconventional manner, as the puck caromed off the stick of a backchecking Matthew Peca and into the net to forge a tie with 6:28 remaining in the third period. Peca had just returned for the Canadiens following a 14-game absence due to a knee injury.
Canadiens alternate captain Brendan Gallagher did not make the trip to Ottawa after experiencing headaches following Thursday’s 4-2 setback to Edmonton.