OTTAWA — Alex DeBrincat will quickly become a Senators' fan favourite if he can be the difference maker he was Saturday night when he scored the overtime game winner in a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
The NHL pre-season winner was DeBrincat’s second goal of the night and showed just how dangerous he can be offensively.
The newly acquired winger finished the game with five shots and may be encouraged to shoot the puck a bit more after Saturday’s heroics.
“He was looking to pass more than you want your top goal scorers to do,” said Senators head coach D.J. Smith. “He looks like he can score from everywhere.”
Ottawa had the man advantage to start overtime and Smith opted to ice four forwards, which proved successful.
“You’ve got to put your four best players depending on that night and it would be pretty hard to hold DeBrincat off the way he shoots the puck,” said Smith. “That’s a good problem for us to have.”
Shane Pinto also scored a pair of power-play goals, while Mathieu Joseph scored his first of the pre-season for Ottawa (2-3-0). Mads Sogaard allowed three goals on 14 shots through two periods of play. Antoine Bibeau allowed one goal on two shots in relief.
The Canadiens played a solid game, but are still looking for their first win of the pre-season.
Jake Evans scored twice for the Canadiens, while Rem Pitlick and Justin Barron also scored for Montreal. Cayden Primeau was solid making 30 saves.
“I know it’s pre-season, but obviously we want to win those games and I think we’re all a little bit disappointed,” said Pitlick. “It was nice to contribute a little bit since Jake (Evans) and I played together last year so it was nice to connect.”
Primeau looked good through 60 minutes, but could have used a little more defensive support.
“I think he deserved a better fate,” said Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis. “We didn’t help him on the penalty kill.”
Saturday’s game was the first of four straight against one another.
Ottawa trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes and looked like they might be done after Barron made it 4-2, but caught a break when Brendan Guhle fell at the blue line allowing Tyler Motte to steal the puck and find Joseph down low to make it a one-goal game.
Pinto tied it 4-4 with his second power-play goal of the game late in third.
“We were doing the right things pretty much the whole game and you see it pays off in the end,” said DeBrincat. “I think that’s something we need to learn. We just have to keep sticking with it and if it’s not going our way we have to keep battling and we’re going to come back sooner or later.”
DeBrincat opened the scoring for the Senators early in the second period when he was able to settle a loose puck, spin and fire a shot past Primeau for his first of the night.
Pitlick regained the two-goal lead with a power-play goal for the Canadiens, but Pinto made it a one-goal game with a power-play goal late in the second.
“You want to do as much as much as you can to help the team win and whatever that is I’m going to do it,” said Pinto. “If it’s on the power play I hope I keep on doing that, but it was a good confidence booster for sure.”
Montreal jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first on a pair of goals by Evans.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press