For all but a ten minute stretch, the Canadiens were the better team on this night. These days it never seems to be enough. Over the stretch from five to 15 minutes of the third period the Senators outshot them 7-2 and scored twice. In the other fifty-five minutes the Canadiens outshot Ottawa 33-18 and dominated in scoring chances.
Player of the Game – David Desharnais was at his playmaking best. His line generated a total of 18 shots, ten of them on goal and eleven of the Canadiens seventeen scoring chances. Desharnais had three shots and four chances himself and was in the middle of the goal that tied the game in the final minute was he relayed Chris Campoli’s shot, forcing a rebound that Pacioretty collected to send the game into overtime.
Back in the Mix – Randy Cunneyworth had been trying to give Tomas Plekanec a breather by reducing his playing time. It was back to work in this game. Plekanec led all forwards in thge game with 25:23. He had two shorthanded breakaways in the game, scoring on the second 45 seconds into the third period to give the Canadiens their 1-0 lead. He was plus-2 with five shots on goal.
Undisciplined – The Canadiens were shorthanded eight times in the game for a tootal of 12:58. They were beaten once when their best penalty killer, Tomas Plekanec was serving a four minute penalty for highsticking Zack Smith late in the third period. Twelve of the Senators 25 shots came on their power play. The 29th ranked Canadiens power play had five opportunities (8:38) and came up empty again.
Don’t Blame Carey – In shootouts, the Canadiens are awful. They’ve been there seven times and won once (in Carolina November 23rd). As a team they have taken 24 shots and scored only four times (Gionta-twice, Desharnais and Pacioretty-once). Price stopped Michalek and Spezza who were a combined 8 for 14 in shootouts this season but then on the final shot Daniel Alfredsson scored to keep his shootout record perfect at 4-for-4.
Playing the Odds – There was some headscratching when Cunneyworth named Tomas Kaberle his second man in the shootout. Cunneyworth was aware that Kaberle was used regularly in shootouts when he was in Carolina with five goals on 12 shots. Craig Anderson had his number this time, shutting down the five-hole on him.
No Goal – In another time, before a recent rule change, the Canadien would have had a goal on the board early in the first period when P.K. Subban blasted a puck past Craig Anderson. The goal was disallowed, the referee claiming goaltender interference on Andrei Kostitsyn. Kostitsyn was pushed into Anderson by Milan Michalek. Doesn’t matter, under the new rule. No goal.
The Cellar Looms – Two of the three teams behind the 12th place Canadiens won games Saturday night (the Islanders and Carolina). The Canadiens have 40 points, Carolina is one point behind the Canadiens while the Islanders and Tampa are two points back. The Islanders have two games in hand; the Lightning one.
Also Worth Mentioning – Scott Gomez was back in the lineup after missing 21 games with that groin injury. He played mostly on a win with Nokelainen and Blunden but 5:02 of his 16 minutes were on the Canadiens power play. His only shot attempt was blocked. …..Good game from P.K. Subban, including a gameleading six shots on goal and plus-1. He also gave us the hit of the night when he dropped Colin Greening late in the first period. And of course he had a goal taken away on that Kostitsyn goaltender interference. ….Hal Gill had better legs than we’ve seen in recent games. He helped kill 9:13 of the 12:58 the Canadiens were shorthanded. …… Few understand making Alexei Emelin a healthy scratch in favour of Chris Campoli and/or Yannick Weber. Cunneyworth said in the post-game news conference that he wanted more offense. Campoli did assist on the Pacioretty tieing goal, still…………?
From the Scoresheet – Time on Ice-Forwards – Tomas Plekanec (25:23); TOI-Defence – P.K. Subban (27:54); Shots on Goal – Subban (6); Hits – Blunden, Kostiitsyn, Weber (3); Faceoffs Won/Lost – Nokelainen – (5/3) 63%. Desharnais (7/5) 58%; Plekanec (14/13) 52%.
Next Up – The New York Rangers Sunday night at 7:05. Peter Budaj will be in goal for the first time in ten games. The Rangers coming off a 3-0 win in Toronto Saturday night.