Josh Norris scores two in regulation, again in shootout as Senators top Canadiens 5-4

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MONTREAL — Josh Norris and the Ottawa Senators ended their pre-season on a high note in Montreal.

Norris scored twice in regulation and again in the shootout as the Sens edged the Canadiens 5-4 on Thursday at the Bell Centre. Both of Norris's regulation-time goals came on the power play.

“I thought the guys were great, we stuck with it and we just went out and played hockey,” Norris said. “We played like we wanted to play and got some momentum back.

"Our power play did some damage tonight which is nice to see after the struggles we’ve had early on.”

Chris Tierney and Shane Pinto both scored in the second period as Ottawa (3-3-0) built a 4-2 lead by the second intermission. Thomas Chabot added two assists.

“That’s one thing they’ve wanted me to do more is just shoot the puck and (Chabot) puts it right in my wheelhouse,” Norris said. “It’s pretty easy when you have a guy like that up there.”

Anton Forsberg made 18 saves to earn the win in net.

Senators head coach D.J. Smith stressed that his team worked on their power-play unit and that it showed. More importantly, winning opening faceoffs allowed them to be dangerous.

“We put in a lot more time on it this week. We also won faceoffs, when you win a faceoff to start the power play it makes a big difference,” Smith said. "You have the puck, you don’t have to go 200 feet every time. We won more draws than we have been winning and we just were a little more dialed in tonight.”

Jeff Petry had a pair of goals for Montreal (2-3-1), including one late in the third period to force overtime. Nick Suzuki and Josh Anderson had the other Canadiens' goals.

Jake Allen stopped 28 shots in net for Montreal. Allen is the Canadiens' presumptive starting goaltender for the first month of the NHL season after it was announced earlier Thursday that superstar Carey Price is voluntarily entering the NHL's player assistance program.

Anderson opened the scoring 10 seconds into the game when Artturi Lehkonen passed over to him with loads of space in front of goal and scored with the first shot of the game.

Montreal added a second goal early in the first period. Settled into the offensive zone, Tyler Toffoli found Petry with a cross-ice pass and the defenceman doubled the Habs’ lead.

Smith enjoyed how his squad didn’t panic after being down by two so early in the game.

“We were pretty calm, to be honest," said Smith. "The opening play was a mistake by us and before you know it they gave another one but we just kept playing."

The Sens had their first goals of the game off the power play. Norris took a powerful one-timer shot and beat Allen, who had lost his stick.

Ottawa equalized with a second straight power-play goal from Pinto. The youngster has been raising eyebrows at Senators camp including Norris.

“He looks great. I just told him good game. I said: ‘You look great, just keep going,’” Norris said. " I think he’s 20 and he’s already so far beyond his years which is great to see.”

The Canadiens’ undisciplined play gave the Senators a third power-play goal. Alex Belzile’s clearance attempt fell straight to Norris in the slot who shocked Allen with his second of the game.

Tierney added a fourth goal for Ottawa. After video review, the referee confirmed that his shot crossed the goal line before Allen made the save giving the Sens a 4-2 lead.

On Montreal’s side, Petry wasn’t impressed with how his team let Ottawa get back into the game.

“I thought that we sat back a little too much in the second period and I thought we were passive,” Petry said. “We were allowing them to make plays without being contested and giving them too much space. That gave them the opportunity to score goals.”

Montreal cut that deficit to one in the third period on the power play. Suzuki got his stick on a loose puck after a save by Forsberg and a tap-in brought the score to 4-3.

With one minute to go in regulation, the Habs put away the equalizer. Petry, from the point, launched a slapshot that forced an overtime period.

Jonathan Drouin did not participate in the game. The Canadiens announced that he was out with a non-COVID-19 related illness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2021.

Tristan D’Amours, The Canadian Press

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