Ottawa, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Max Pacioretty recorded his third hat trick of the season and added two assists for a career-high five points, as Montreal roared back from an early three-goal deficit to shock Ottawa, 7-4, in an Atlantic Division clash in Canada's capital.
Mike Weaver and David Desharnais added a goal and a helper each for the Canadiens, winners in nine of their last 11 who moved alone into second place -- two points up on idle Tampa Bay -- for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
"We still had confidence," said Pacioretty. "We knew that they had gotten the bounces early on, but obviously you look at the shots and we definitely got some favorable bounces and that's just the way it goes some nights. But it just shows our last two games against them, you're never down and out."
Friday's contest was the first meeting between the clubs since the "Miracle in Montreal" on March 15, where Habs rallied from 4-1 down in the game's final 3:22 to win, 5-4 in OT at Bell Centre.
Andrei Markov and Lars Eller also hit the back of the net for Montreal and Thomas Vanek contributed three assists. Peter Budaj allowed a trio of scores in the game's first six minutes, but recovered to snag the win thanks to 39 saves.
Zack Smith scored twice and Ales Hemsky once in that burst for the Senators, who have lost two in a row after winning three straight. Mika Zibanejad added a goal and an assist in defeat.
Craig Anderson failed to hold that generous cushion, taking the loss by yielding all seven scores on 23 shots.
Pacioretty finished off his trifecta with a blistering drive from the high slot off a Desharnais feed only 1:09 into the third for a 6-3 Montreal advantage.
Desharnais added his own tally with 9:14 played to give the visitors a four- goal bulge, with assists from Pacioretty and Vanek to give that line 10 points on the night.
"We didn't panic and we stuck to our plan and got back in the game," noted Desharnais.
Zibanejad put one by Budaj with 5:53 to play to cap the scoring.
"It's hard to say that we stopped playing, but we didn't play the game we wanted to," Smith admitted. "We gave them too many chances, they had a lot of room in front of the net and a couple of box-outs ... the list goes on."
After failing on the game's first power play only 10 seconds after the opening faceoff, Smith beat Budaj through the pads off a Chris Phillips rebound at 2:28. It was 2-0 for the hosts only 2:07 later, as Hemsky managed to get his blade on a point shot from Patrick Wiercioch. Smith struck again, off a pass by Zibanejad to complete a 2-on-1, with 5:50 played.
That was as good as it got for the fading Senators.
The Canadiens finally answered at 7:22 as Markov banked a shot in from behind the goal line to Anderson's left, then crept within a goal on a right-point floater from Weaver at 9:17.
Pacioretty was sprung with a bouncing lead pass by Vanek, and tied the game at 15:52 with a backhander.
Eller batted a Brian Gionta rebound out of the air while standing just outside the crease and Montreal took a 4-3 lead at 4:09 of the second. On the following shift, a Senators goal was waved off on the ice due to incidental contact with Budaj.
Pacioretty broke in alone and beat Anderson through the five-hole on the forehand and the Habs led 5-3 at 15:25.
"They got a lucky first one, it looked like, and the momentum started to swing and we couldn't stop it," Senators forward Kyle Turris said.
Pacioretty notched his fourth career hat trick and first since Feb. 6 against Vancouver ... The 25-year-old Connecticut native posted his 10th multi-goal effort of the season and second in the last three games, extending his career- and team-best goal total to 38 ... Pacioretty joins San Jose's Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin of Dallas for the NHL lead with three games of at least three scores ... Pacioretty eclipsed his previous four-point performance (2G, 2A) at Dallas on Jan. 2 ... Ottawa allowed seven goals in a game only 17 days after surrendering a season-high eight in a home loss to the Rangers ... Weaver's goal was his first since Feb. 22, 2013 for the Panthers.