Jean-Gabriel Pageau broke a 1-1 tie late in the first period and the Senators went on to defeat the Canadiens 4-1 Thursday night in Ottawa. The defeat ended the Canadiens six game road winning streak. The Senators Mika Zibanejad opened the game scoring at 1:09 of the first period but Max Pacioretty tied the game setting the stage for what proved to be the game winner. Erik Karlson made it 3-1 early the second period and Eric Condra completed the scoring into an empty net. The Senators outshot the Canadiens 35-26. On RDS the three stars were Pageau (1g,1a), Milan Michalek (2a) and Karlsson.
Adding It Up –
Empty Tank – The Canadiens have had success in the tail end of these back-to-back nights this season but not on this one. They were flat from the outset and, rarely managed to muster anything resembling the cohesive play that has marked their season to date. Even in the second period when they outshot the Senators 14-7 was there no sense of sustained offense.
Deceptive – That newly formed Plekanec/Gallagher/Pacioretty line added ten more shots to the 18 they put up against Columbus the night before but they failed to match the same offensive presence. Brendan Gallagher had a particularly bad night filled with bad passes and giveaways. Tomas Plekanec seemed out of sorts all night. He picked up the game’s Canadiens first two penalties and to cap his night, was handed a ten minute misconduct for barking at a linesman during a faceoff with 34 seconds left.
Sharpshooter – Pacioretty jumped all over a Cody Ceci turnover and used his speed the burst past Jared Cowen to score on one of those quick shots that squeezed through Anderson’s five hole. That’s a career high 6 game goalscoring streak and 9 goals, 7 assists his last 14 games. Unfortunately, the goal did little to change the southerly direction the game was headed.
Hopeless Cause – Trying to inject some life into his team Michel Therrien used thirteen different different line combinations. By late in the first period he had given up on both the Eller/Desharnais/Weise and Galchnyuk/Sekac/Parenteau lines. Outside of the first line, the rest of the night was an organization catch-all. Not that anything Therrien did was going to help in this game.
Also Worth Mentioning – ….If I were forced to pick two forwards who had good nights it would be Lars Eller and Jiri Sekac. They may have been involved more than their teammates but Eller has one goal his last 10 games and Sekac one in his last nine which only points up the lack of offensive depth on this team. ….Nothing much wrong with Dustin Tokarski‘s performance. A couple of nasty rebounds one of which led to the first goal, but not much help in front from his defense one the first and second goals. Hard to blame a goaltender when he faces 20 first period shots. …One of those up-and-down nights for P.K. Subban. He had four shots on goal, 3 giveaways, two takeaways, three blocked shots and two hits. …. Off the stats sheet – Max Pacioretty led with 5 shots on goal off 12 attempts. Dale Weise had 4 hits.
Moving On – The Canadiens return home for two tough opponents before the All-star break. The Conference leading Islanders on Saturday night followed by Nashville on Tuesday.