OTTAWA — For an Arizona kid, there’s nothing bigger than scoring the game-winning goal on a night that honored one of the game’s greatest legends.
Mark Kastelic scored his first career goal and his second of the night remained the winner as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-4.
That was so much fun," said Kastelic. “Probably the most memorable game of my career and super exciting to do it with the guys in that room. They’re very supportive and just a fun environment to be in.”
Kastelic won’t soon forget his first goal as he ended up battling Michael Pezzetta before he even knew he had scored.
“I haven’t done that before, so it’s the first time, but in my defense, I didn’t know I had scored. So it’s a fun situation.”
Before the start of the game, the Senators shared a video tribute, followed by a moment of silence to honor Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur, who passed away on Friday.
Even though both teams played the final games of their season, there was anticipation for this game as it marked the first meeting since Brendan Gallagher criticized Tim Stutzle for faking an injury.
Although Stutzle remained off the scoresheet, he did take out three penalties.
“I guess it added a little bit of intensity to the game,” Gallagher admitted. – he is a really good player. We have to be aware of him and try to play hard with him and do all of that. But he is a really good player.”
The Senators were offended by the criticism of their young phenom, but felt he more than defended himself on Saturday night.
“Obviously, he’s young, and we’ve all been through it and what’s been said, been said, but we know what Timmy is like,” said Thomas Chabot, who returned to the lineup after missing 19 games with a hand. fracture.
“We practice every day. We are close to him every day. He is a competitor. He is picking himself up every time and when you are a talented player in this league, unfortunately, you get attacked a lot and a lot of guys will come after you. But I think it’s all part of the learning curve and seeing it the way he showed up tonight and he fought all night, I think it shows a lot about his personality and him as a player.”
While Stutzle may have been all the talk before the game, when it was over, it was the Senators’ safety players that made the difference.
Austin Watson, Josh Norris, Parker Kelly and Alex Formenton also scored for the Senators (30-41-7). Anton Forsberg made 44 saves on the night.
Watson and Kelly, along with Dylan Gambrell, have been a pleasant surprise for head coach DJ Smith.
“They’ve been our best line off the power play and our big guys scoring and some good goals,” Smith said. “The Gambrell line has been our most consistent lately here. They can play anybody, they check and now they’re contributing offensively. They complete every check. They’ve been a huge boost for us.”
Rem Pitlick, with a pair, Cole Caufield, Joel Edmundson scored for the Habs (20-48-11), who have lost eight in a row. Carey Price, in her third straight start, stopped 20 shots.
“It sucks to lose,” Pitlick said. “I think as a team and as an athlete, there’s that fire and frustration when you lose. We’re angry, but we’re going to keep working. There’s nothing you can do but try to keep getting better and hopefully it rebounds in your favor.”
Tied 1-1 after the first, with goals from Kastelic and Pitlick, things fell apart for the Canadiens in the second period when the Senators scored five goals, three in a span of 67 seconds.
Watson gave the Senators the lead, scoring in the first minute of the period.
At 6:43, Kelly appeared to be looking for a pass but beat Price on the far side of the stick, 32 seconds later, Norris beat Price up close and 35 seconds later, Kastelic scored his second of the night.
Montreal called a timeout and grabbed two rebounds to make it 5-3 when Caufield received a great pass from Mike Hoffman to beat the stick side of Forsberg and Edmundson collecting his third of the season.
The Senators were able to reclaim their three-goal cushion when Formenton beat Jeff Petry in a foot race for his fifth goal of the season.
Trailing 6-3 early in the third, Pitlick scored his second of the game midway through the period. The Canadians kept pressing, but Forsberg was solid.
The Canadians added No. 10 patches to their jerseys in honor of Lafleur and the senators held a moment of silence before the game.
NOTES: Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot returned to the lineup after missing the past 19 games with a broken hand. Connor Brown and Nikita Zaitsev couldn’t play and Scott Sabourin was called up from AHL Belleville? Montreal’s Pezzetta returned to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension, while Jordan Harris took Kale Clague’s place on the blue line.