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Brady Tkachuk scores OT goal to propel Senators past Canadiens

AP

Brady Tkachuk finished what Jean-Gabriel Pageau started, and the Ottawa Senators feel like they have the struggling franchise moving in the right direction.

Tkachuk went five-hole on Carey Price 38 seconds into overtime, Pageau scored for the second straight game and the Senators beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 Wednesday night. Craig Anderson stopped 35 shots, and Ottawa won for the fourth time in five games.

“We’re still learning and getting better,” Tkachuk said. “And we’ve improved so much since the start of the year. I definitely think we’re trending in the right direction.

Montreal rookie Nick Suzuki scored in the second period, and Price stopped 22 shots for the Canadiens a day after allowing five goals in Columbus.

Pageau beat Price at 9:55 of the second by tipping a shot from Tyler Ennis. Pageau leads the NHL with 10 goals this month, and the 27-year-old also has nine goals in 20 career games versus the Canadiens — his most against any opponent.

“It’s obviously a great feeling,” said Pageau, who has 13 goals this season. “I’m feeling confident in my abilities right now and I’m lucky to have the teammates I have right now. We’re playing some really good hockey.

“When I shoot, I always try to score now. That’s something that changes when you play with confidence.”

Both teams were playing on consecutive nights. Ottawa defeated the Red Wings 4-3 in Detroit on Tuesday while Montreal lost 5-2 to the Blue Jackets.

The Canadiens were the better team in the first period, outshooting the Senators 12-3, but neither scored.

Suzuki scored on a power play with Nikita Zaitsev in the box for cross-checking. Phillip Danault found the puck during a net-front scramble and passed to Suzuki for an easy score. It was his sixth goal of the season and came 44 seconds into the period.

Ennis nearly gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead in the final minute of the second on a breakaway, but Price made a blocker save.

The visitors kept coming in the third. Price denied Ennis on a power play early on, moments after Anthony Duclair missed the net from the slot.

“We’re not playing bad hockey but we’re not finishing our chances,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “When you don’t finish your chances, you give the other team a chance to stay in the game. It’s frustrating, it’s unfortunate, but it’s not because we’re playing bad hockey.”

The Senators’ league-worst power play finished 0-for-3.

Ottawa was down a forward for most of the game. Forward Vladislav Namestnikov left in the first period after falling awkwardly into the boards on a hit from defenseman Cale Fleury. He did not return.

Rangers 4, Capitals 1

In New York, Artemi Panarin scored twice, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 30 shots, and the Rangers beat short-handed Washington.

Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist, Brett Howden also scored, while Kaapo Kakko added two assists for New York, which ended a two-game skid and improved to 6-3-1 in its last 10 games. Lundqvist earned his 454th win, tying Curtis Joseph for fifth on the NHL’s career list.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored and Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the first-place Capitals, who lost in regulation for the second time in four games after an 11-0-2 stretch. Washington failed to earn a point for only the fourth time in 24 games, including the second time in 13 on the road.

The Capitals played without right wing Garnet Hathaway and center Nicklas Backstrom. Hathaway was suspended three games earlier in the day for spitting on Anaheim’s Erik Gudbranson on Monday night in response to a rabbit punch from Gudbranson, and Backstrom sat out due to an upper body injury.

Panarin made it 2-0 with his second power-play goal of the night on a rebound of Kakko’s shot from the left side for his 11th at 3:57 of the third period.

While Panarin’s goal was being announced, Buchnevich beat Holtby on the right side off a cross-crease pass from Filip Chytil for his third just 23 seconds later.

Kuznetsov scored from the right circle on a power play to spoil Lundqvist’s shutout bid at 7:24. It was his 10th.

Buchnevich found Howden all alone in front, and he beat Holtby on the blocker side for his third with 6½ minutes remaining to restore the Rangers’ three-goal lead.

New York’s Brendan Lemieux and Washington’s Tom Wilson dropped gloves with 3½ minutes to go, after Wilson ran into Lemieux while he was being hit by Alex Ovechkin near the Capitals’ bench.

Washington pulled Holtby for an extra skater with more than 3 minutes left but couldn’t get anything past Lundqvist.

With the Rangers still on a power play that carried over from the final minute of the first period, Panarin got a pass from Kakko in the left circle and fired it past Holtby’s glove side at 1:14 of the second. It extended Panarin’s point streak to a career-high 12 games.

After making 10 saves in the first period, Lundqvist had 14 in the second and was helped out by a post for the fourth time when Lars Eller’s shot hit iron during Washington’s power play about 7½ minutes into the middle period.

Both teams had chances in a scoreless first period. John Carlson and T.J. Oshie both beat Lundqvist but had their shots ring off the crossbar late in the period. Teammate Michal Kempny also hit a post earlier.