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Montoya, Jets shut out Senators 1-0

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA, Ontario -- In a battle of the backups, Al Montoya was perfect.

Alexei Ponikarovsky's third-period goal was all the Winnipeg Jets needed as their second-string goalie made 33 saves in a 1-0 blanking of the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at Scotiabank Place.

"I felt good. I felt comfortable. I felt like I did all the right things to prepare for this game," said the 27-year-old Montoya, who improved to 2-0-0 with his third career shutout. "It's just about being ready every night."

Also solid was Senators No. 2 goalie Ben Bishop. He stopped 36 shots, including all 28 he faced in the first two periods, to keep his team in the game.

"It's been awhile, so I kind of had to get that timing back," said Bishop, who allowed five goals in a 6-4 loss to Tampa on Jan. 25, his only other appearance this season. "After that first little flurry, definitely by the second period I started to feel really good, like I was back in the rhythm again.

"You never want to get outdueled by the guy across from you; it's frustrating not to get the win," Bishop added. "I just tried to give the team a chance to win, and I felt like I did that today."

Ponikarovsky's goal was his second of the season and came on his team's 33rd shot of the day. Positioned to the right of Bishop, his deflection of a wrist shot by Kyle Wellwood went off the post before settling in the Senators' net.

"We had a couple of opportunities to score, but it didn't go in," Ponikarovsky said. "We were just sticking with our game plan and team game. Everybody was putting out whatever they could for the win. It happened to be me that tipped the goal, but everybody worked for it hard. I'm just glad to get this goal for the team."

Both teams had 12 shots on goal in the first period, but Bishop had the tougher tests. Ottawa's best chance in the opening 20 minutes was a semi-break by Stephane Da Costa. His shot for the top corner deflected wide after hitting the shaft of Montoya's stick.

The Jets outshot the Senators 16-11 in the second period.

"Obviously, Montoya played very well for them," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "We had another 80 attempts at the net. But again we didn't have enough people at the net.

"We weren't even good enough from the start. The last 10 minutes, after they scored, is when I think we actually started to play. Full marks for them. They were way better than we were for 45 minutes."

Winnipeg (5-5-1) returns home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Senators (6-4-2) wrap up a four-game homestand by hosting the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

NOTES: Already without top center Jason Spezza (back surgery) for likely another two months, the Senators lost center Peter Regin in the first period with a chest injury. ... The Senators and Jets entered the day as the league leaders in goals from defensemen. Both blue-line groups had produced nine ... Winnipeg defenseman Toby Enstrom arrived in Ottawa riding a career-high eight-game point streak. ... In two previous games vs. the Senators, Jets goalie Al Montoya was winless with a .847 save percentage. ... Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien missed his fifth consecutive game with a suspected knee injury. He had the Jets' only goal and six of the their 28 shots the last time these teams met, a season-opening 4-1 loss to the Senators in Winnipeg.
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