The Ottawa Senators broke open a tie game with two goals 37 seconds apart and skated to a 4-1 win over the Canadiens Thursday night in Ottawa. The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead on an Andrei Markov goal just past the midway point of the first period but Bobby Ryan’s 9th goal tied the game 28 seconds later. In the second period the Senators scored twice on six shots; first Marc Methot and 37 seconds later Mark Borowwiecki. The rest of the game belonged to goaltender Robin Lehner before Kyle Turris scored into the empty net. Shots on goal were 34-24 for the Canadiens. The fourth loss in a row for the Canadiens allowed the Senators to creep to within a point with a game in hand. After 17 games the Canadiens are a .500 hockey team at 8-8-1 and have lost six of their last nine games.
Adding It Up –
Great Start – The Canadiens completely dominated the opening minutes of the game, taking advantage of a Senators team that was mistake prone and given to turning the puck over every ten or fifteen seconds. It paid off when Andrei Markov scored on a shot the deflected past Lehner off one of his own defenders.
Off the Hook – It Ottawa’s confidence appeared to be shot, it was given life 28 seconds later when Bobby Ryan whistled a hard wrist shot past Carey Price to tie the game.
Opportunists – While the Canadiens were dominating the game territorially, it was the Senators who put it in the net. Carey Price let a long rebound go and defenseman Marc Methot scored on the Senators 12th shot on goal to take the lead. And then added another on their 13th shot wit Mark Borwiecki. 3-1 at 12:08 of the second. Lehner took care of the Canadiens remaining 17 shots and it was lights out.
Beaten At Their Own Game – The Canadiens are the league’s number one shotblocking team, but it was a failure by Gallagher to block the shot from the blueline on the first goal and Moen and Subban on the third goal that set the stage for the Ottawa win. The Canadiens did block 22 others in the game.
Coaching Nightmare – The Canadiens depend on three lines to carry their offense and their centre is depended upon to generate their production. One centre, David Desharnais has no goals and one assist this season. Another, Lars Eller has no goals and two assists his last 12 games.
Carrying the Load – While Desharnais and Eller have a total of 3 assists and no goals over the last 12 games, Tomas Plekanec has 5 goals and 4 assists including three game winners over the same span. During that time he has had four different left wingers. The line was on the ice for the Canadiens only goal against Ottawa.
Comeback Killer – The Canadiens had sustained third period pressure in the Ottawa zone for the first time since early in the game. At 11:30 Rene Bourque took an awful ‘holding the stick’ penalty while the Canadiens were on a power play. And then to compound it, 1:20 after Bourque exited the penalty box, Michael Bournival got a equally-unnecessary highsticking penalty. Ottawa took over the game the final 8 minutes and it was all over.
In Their Own Zone – P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov continue to be the most dynamic defense pairing in the league. 14 of the Canadiens 34 shots came from them. Nine from Subban. The question has to be, where was the presence around the net from the forwards to take care of the rebounds that many of those shots produced?
Super Pest – Brendan Gallagher had 28 shifts in the game and he appeared to be in front of the Ottawa goal making life difficult for Lehner at least that many times. His aggressive play sent him the penalty box four times with minor penalties usually a ticket to a seat on the bench especially when his goaltender interference penalty nullified Rene Bourque’s goal last in the second period.
On Their Own – These days it seems Galchenyuk and Gallagher have their own thing going with Eller having recently played himself out of the loop. They combined for for six shots and five scoring chances in the game. Eller wasn’t close.
Worth Mentioning –…..In the three games since he returned from injury, Max Pacioretty has played on three different lines. After playing on forward units centered by Desharnais and Gallagher, he was part of the Plekanec/Gionta line in this game. It was by far the Canadiens best. ……Carey Price failed to control the rebound on the Senators second goal, something he’s been very good at this season. The goal proved to be the winner. ….. Only three weeks ago the Canadiens ranked 18th in league penalty killing. They killed off all five Senators advantages and in the last nine games have killed 25 of 26. Their penalty killers (for the most part, without the help of Subban) now are ranked 3rd in the league. …..The Canadiens rank 24th in the league in even-strength goal scoring at only 1.4 per game. Not going to win too many championships at that rate …..On most scorecards, Andrei Markov was the best Canadien on the night. No argument from this corner. Second best, despite eight minutes in the penalty box, was Gallagher.
Moving On – The Canadiens play the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre Sunday at 6.00pm. Then it’s Tampa at home Tuesday.