OTTAWA -- Goaltender Robin Lehner, the Ottawa Senators backup, is taking his chance and running with it.
Filling in for injured starting goalie Craig Anderson, Lehner won his second game in a row by stopping 33 shots in a 4-1 decision over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.
The victory ended a five-game home losing streak for the Senators and also pulled them to within one point of the Canadiens and the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division.
"I think we're playing with our confidence," said Lehner, who beat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a 4-1 score in the team's first game without Anderson on Tuesday. "I think when we play the right way it just flows through the whole team. Everyone plays good. The team performance reflects on me and my performance reflects on the team. That's how it goes. We're getting better and we're getting back to where we were."
The loss was the fourth straight for the Habs, but they were not dissatisfied with their game.
"I think we're playing pretty good hockey," said Montreal goalie Carey Price, who made 20 saves. "Unfortunately, we're not getting the results that we want, but I think we can feel pretty confident about the way we are playing right now.
"It's disappointing (to lose) but at the same time we controlled a lot of that game tonight. I think going forward we can build on the way we're playing. We lost two tough games recently and I thought we deserved better."
Goals 37 seconds apart in the second period by Ottawa-born Senators defensemen Marc Methot and Mark Borowiecki broke open what had been a 1-1 game. Methot's came as a direct result of a giveaway by Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov. For Borowiecki, who scored into his own net the last time the Senators played at home, it was the first goal of his NHL career.
"I can't really describe the feeling," said Borowiecki, who was called up from the Senators AHL affiliate in Binghamton on the weekend to provide Ottawa with some toughness on the back end. "It's pretty cool. I really like fighting, I really like hitting but scoring goals is pretty sweet, too. It's definitely a great feeling."
Senators center Kyle Turris iced the game with an empty netter in the last minute.
The Habs had a number of quality chances in the first period but Lehner stood tall for the Senators. The one shot that beat him was a blast by Markov with Senators center Jason Spezza in the penalty box. It took Senators winger Bobby Ryan just 28 seconds to get that one back, however. He took a pass from winger Clarke MacArthur in the high slot and whipped a shot by Price for his ninth of the season.
"When they got their opportunities, there was nothing that Carey Price could do," said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien. "I thought we deserved a better fate. I thought we were the team that dictated the game. We got some great scoring chances but couldn't capitalize. That was the big difference tonight. But that was a good team effort."
The Senators, who are now 6-6-4, next play the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon at Canadian Tire Centre. They will be looking to extend their winning streak to three, but also to improve their record over Eastern Conference opponents to 6-0-2.
"We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole here on home ice," said Ryan, who also had an assist against the Habs. "To take care of our home ice, win two points and get closer to where we need to be, is beneficial for us."
The Habs (8-8-1) are home to the New York Islanders on Sunday.
NOTES: Canadiens C Daniel Briere practiced with his teammates at the Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday morning, marking the first time he had done so since suffering his third concussion in 21 months Oct. 19. No timetable has been set for his return to the lineup, but Briere thinks that day is getting closer. "I haven't taken any hits yet," he said. "That will be the next step. From there, we'll have a better idea." ... The game was the first between the teams since the Senators eliminated the Canadiens in five games in last season's playoffs. ... Senators G Craig Anderson practiced with the team for the first time since suffering a "stiff neck" in a goal-mouth collision on Sunday. He did not dress as G Robin Lehner's backup, but Anderson's return appears to be imminent. ... Canadiens RW George Parros and Senators RW Bobby Ryan were roommates when they played together in Anaheim. "I'm looking forward to playing against him," Parros, the Montreal enforcer, said of Ryan, the Senators' top marksman. "But I'm not looking forward to him blasting me like I've seen him hit so many people in the past." ... The Senators gave up the first goal for the 11th time in 16 games. They are 4-0-1 when scoring first.