Mark Stone and Cody Ceci each with three points as Senators top Canadiens 5-2

Mark Stone and Cody Ceci each with three points as Senators top Canadiens 5-2

Main pic: Alex Galchenyuk in January 2015. Photo credit: Lisa Gansky. 

MONTREAL — Mark Stone looks to be picking up where he left off last season.

The Ottawa Senators forward was the NHL’s hottest scorer after the all−star break in the 2014−15 campaign and he looks ready to keep that level of production going.

Stone and defenceman Cody Ceci each had a goal and two assists as the Senators downed the Montreal Canadiens 5−2 in NHL pre−season action Thursday night.

“I’m comfortable with my linemates and the way the system is being played here,” said Stone. “I’m not worried.

“I’m feeling a little more pressure to continue to do what I was able to do at the end of the season, but I’m confident. I’m just looking forward to getting the season going.”

Ceci was happy to put up some points.

“That’s what I’m trying to get back in my game is my offence,” said Ceci. “Things were just clicking tonight. That’s good for my confidence.”

Mike Hoffman, Clarke MacArthur and Patrick Wiercioch also scored for Ottawa, while Andrei Markov and Nathan Beaulieu had goals for Montreal. The Canadiens outshot the Senators 43−21, but Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson was a wall after a little shakiness early in the game.

The teams meet again Saturday night in Ottawa.

Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, returning earlier than expected from a knee injury, wore the C for the first time at the Bell Centre since being named captain at the start of training camp.

“It was a very special feeling,” he said. “It’s only pre−season but I still took a lot of pride in wearing that. After I settled down a bit, I got back to playing my game.”

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien liked that his team got lots of chances but said they played too much “high−risk” hockey.

“But that’s something very correctable,” he added.

The Canadiens scored on their first shot on Anderson, a soft backhand from the right circle by Markov at 1:05.

A power play had just ended when Beaulieu crept in from the point on a back door play to convert a Pacioretty pass at 9:52.

Ceci got one back at the 15:00 mark when he took a drop pass from Stone and saw his shot go off Alex Galchenyuk’s stick and under the crossbar.

Jean−Gabriel Pageau slipped a pass to Stone to go in alone and beat Carey Price shorthanded 4:11 into the second. Then Stone set up Hoffman for a wrist shot past Price at 9:31.

Ceci’s shot dropped behind Price and MacArthur put it into an open net on a power play 14:20 into the third. Price was screened as Wiercioch scored from the left point at 16:43.

Ottawa scratches included Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Milan Michalek and Chris Phillips. Montreal did not use the line of David Desharnais, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann and defenceman Jeff Petry.

Defenceman Noah Juulson, Montreal’s first round draft pick who missed most of camp with a concussion, was returned to the junior Everett Silvertips after playing his first NHL game. Juulsen looked sharp as he got 13:35 of ice time with two shots and three hits.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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