Sens get revenge with 3-0 win over Habs 100 years after NHL’s first game

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Nearly 100 years ago, the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators faced off on the NHL’s opening night. In that Dec. 19, 1917 outdoor game, the Habs stunned the Sens with a 23 to 3 win. On Saturday night at the NHL 100 Classic, Ottawa finally got its revenge with a 3 to 0 victory.

Hockey fans braved bone-chilling temperatures of minus 15 degrees Celsius Saturday for the outdoor game at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park, where the CFL’s Grey Cup was held on Nov. 26.

“I have about four different layers on,” a Sens fan told CTV Ottawa before the puck dropped. “I have a very warm parka and this Ottawa jersey, so that should be good enough.”

“This is Canadian,” a Montreal fan added. “I’ve played outdoors in Manitoba in rinks like this in this weather. This is wonderful!”

The NHL Heritage Classic series of outdoor games began in 2003 with the Habs facing off against the Edmonton Oilers. Saturday night’s game — the first Heritage Classic to be held in Ottawa — commemorates the NHL’s centennial, the Stanley Cup’s 125th anniversary as well as Canada’s 150th birthday.

“I think it’s awesome,” another Montreal fan told CTV Ottawa. “It’s the nation’s capital. With the 150th anniversary, it’s perfect — a perfect setting.”

The historic game was nearly sold-out — something that the Senators haven’t been able to accomplish for two seasons in their own suburban arena. Poor game attendance has recently led Sens owner Eugene Melnyk to suggest that the team could eventually be relocated.

“If it doesn’t look good here, it could look very, very nice somewhere else,” Melnyk told The Canadian Press on Friday. “But I’m not suggesting that right now. All I’m saying is that I would never sell the team.”

In Ottawa, fans quickly decried the threatened move, with one telling CTV News that it was “completely inappropriate” and another saying, “How can you move a team out of the capital?”

For now, though, the Senators are here to stay — and so is this hockey rivalry, 100 years in the making.

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver and files from The Canadian Press

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