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Cole Caufield’s first NHL goal lifts Canadiens over Senators

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Cole Caufield was the overtime hero with his first NHL goal to lead the host Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and strengthen their hold on a playoff spot.

Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Petry netted one goal and one assist while goaltender Cayden Primeau made 21 saves for the Canadiens (23-18-9, 55 points), who not only gained more space between themselves and the clubs chasing them but also pulled within two points of the Winnipeg Jets for third place in the North Division. Both the Canadiens and Jets have six games remaining.

Caufield, the highly touted rookie who joined the team after winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA, scored in his fourth big-league game when he drove to the net and redirected a pass from Petry at 2:25 of the extra period.

The Canadiens have won two in a row, including a comeback victory over Winnipeg on Friday.

Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot replied for the Senators (19-27-5, 43 points), who saw their two-game winning streak snapped. Goaltender Filip Gustavsson stopped 36 shots.

After falling behind 2-0, the Canadiens roared back amid a third period in which they held an 18-3 edge in shots.

Petry’s first goal in 23 games put the hosts on the board a few minutes after it became a two-goal deficit. As he led a rush, Petry faked a pass to sniper Toffoli to gain get to the slot and fired a shot home at 8:12.

Shortly after a potential tying goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference, Toffoli’s power-play tally made it a 2-2 game with 5:35 left in the third period. Nick Suzuki sent a seeing-eye cross-ice pass that Toffoli one-timed for his 27th tally of the season and set the stage for Caufield’s heroics.

Despite a terrific pace of play from the drop of the puck, Stutzle finally opened the scoring with 5:08 remaining in the second period. The rookie winger fired a wrist shot from beyond the right circle for his ninth goal of the season.

Chabot doubled the lead with his second goal in as many games early in the third period. Chabot, the trailer on the rush, took a perfect pass from Evgenii Dadonov as he reached the slot and ripped a shot home at the 5:51 mark of the frame.

–Field Level Media

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