MONTREAL -- Alexei Kovalev didn't want to say much about what closing in on the 1,000-point milestone means to him. Ultimately, he said it all.
Kovalev, who played for Montreal from 2003-09, opened the scoring late in the first period. He added his second goal of the game on a power play 6:42 into the third, a slap shot through traffic past Carey Price that restored Ottawa's two-goal lead at 3-1.
"Let me close on it first - we'll talk about it after," Kovalev said. "It's a great achievement, that's all I can say. You know, you look back and you get to the NHL at 19 years old and now you're over 1,000 games and getting to 1,000 points. I mean, it's a long journey and a big achievement. I'm definitely proud of myself."
Ottawa enjoyed a 31-23 advantage in shots, including 17-6 in the second period.
"We did a good job right off the bat," Elliott said. "We quieted them down and scored a couple of goals. We didn't really give them much, especially in the second period. It was definitely good as a confidence builder. We just have to keep going."
"We had some flashes of good stuff but there were too many odd-man rushes and with guys like that, they're going to make you pay," Gionta said.
Kovalev got credit for his fourth goal of the season when he gave Ottawa a 1-0 lead 17:50 in. Karlsson's point shot through traffic struck the Russian veteran on its way past Price.
Smith, recalled from Binghamton of the AHL earlier in the day, put Ottawa up 2-0 in the second. He got his second of the season with a third effort on a loose puck Price was unable to cover up 12:15 into the middle period.
Spacek drew the Canadiens within 2-1 with 1:21 left in second. A video review confirmed that the Montreal defenseman's shot from the right point deflected off Sergei Gonchar's stick on its way past Elliott.
Montreal's Andrei Markov tipped a puck into the net 11:07 in. Referee Mike Leggo immediately waved off the goal because the Canadiens defenseman had made contact above the level of the crossbar.
- Kovalev has 417 goals and 580 assists in 1,242 games with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Montreal and Ottawa.
- Elliott made his 10th straight start.
- Ds Alexandre Picard and Ryan O'Byrne and C Lars Eller did not dress for Montreal.