Pacioretty scores 3 as Canadiens beat Senators 7-4

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MONTREAL (AP) - The Montreal Canadiens couldn’t help but feel a sense of payback.

The Canadiens had been seeking to get even with the Senators since last spring when Ottawa eliminated them in the opening round of the playoffs.

Montreal got a small measure of that Friday night as they defeated the Senators 7-4, making Ottawa’s chance at returning to the postseason more difficult. The Senators remained seven points out of the final wild-card berth in the East with just five games remaining.

Max Pacioretty had a hat trick as the Canadiens scored seven straight after falling behind 3-0.

“This year we definitely felt like we owed them a little payback for last year in the playoffs and our games have been heated against them,” Pacioretty said. “It’s not just on the scoreboard that feels good it’s seeing guys step up and stand up for their teammates. I think that’s one of the more rewarding feelings about the night.”

Andrei Markov, Mike Weaver, Lars Eller and David Desharnais also scored for Montreal as Peter Budaj stopped 39 shots for his 10th win of the season.

Zack Smith scored twice for the Senators while Ales Hemsky and Mika Zibanejad had the other goals. Craig Anderson stopped 17 shots.

Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the game was 6 minutes old, but then allowed the Canadiens to steamroll past.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what happened,” Smith said. “We lost control of the game. We were up three goals and it didn’t take them long to get those back and after that it was hard to get any traction. A couple of soft plays and turnovers and they’re in our net.”

Smith had few answers as to why or how the Senators could crash so badly, but admitted it wasn’t pretty.

“We say playing Montreal it’s an easy game to get up for,” he said. “That’s embarrassing. We’re up 3-0 and they score seven straight.”

Senators coach Paul MacLean was at a loss for words.

“I’m numb,” he said. “We came out and played and got the lead 3-0 and then we stopped playing. We stopped doing the things that made us successful.”

With already two on the night, Pacioretty completed his hat trick at 1:09 of the third and Desharnais made it 7-3 midway through the third beating Anderson up high.

The Senators got on the board again with 5:53 remaining as Zibanejad beat Budaj.

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