canadiens ottawa game winnerThe Ottawa Senators caught the Canadiens on another one of their off nights and mauled them 4-2 Wednesday night at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata. Andrew Hammond stopped 42 of 44 Canadiens shot to record a victory in his NHL started debut. Scoring goals for the Senators were Milan Michalek, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mark Stone and Kyle Turris into an empty net. Max Pacioretty and Nathan Beaulieu scored for the Canadiens. Final shots on goal were 44-39 for the Canadiens. The announced three stars in Ottawa were Hammond, Stone and Erik Karlsson.

Adding It Up –

Careless – The Canadiens now have lost ten of nineteen games against the teams that are currently out of playoff contention. This is two straight losses to the Senators. Best description of the 4-1 loss in Ottawa January 15th was “indifferent”. You could best describe their performance on this night as “sloppy”. Ten defeats at the hands of the league’s loser – along with the two against Ottawa there are the three straight against Buffalo, two against Edmonton plus Arizona, Minnesota and Dallas.

Not the Right Way – As exciting as it was for the fans, both coaches will hate this game, Michel Therrien probably a little more than Dave Cameron. There were a total of 83 shots on goal off of 132 shooting attempts. In a league where limiting a team to around fifteen is considered acceptable, scoring chances were an unreal 27-24 in Ottawa’s favour.

IMG_4938.jpgCollateral Damage – Thirty nine seconds into the first period Alexei Emelin missed a check on Mark Stone and fell awkwardly into the boards, damaging his right shoulder. He didn’t return. The Canadiens were left to play the rest of the game with five defensemen including Greg Pateryn who was playing in only his fourth NHL game and first in two years. The injury is serious enough that the team wasted no time recalling Jarred Tinordi from Hamilton.

Gutting It Out – At 14:50 of the second period P.K. Subban blocked Bobby Ryan‘s slap shot with his right ankle. With Ottawa still on the attack, Subban remained on the ice on one leg until, with puck clearing the zone, Andrei Markov had to push him to the bench. At that point Subban had already logged 18:57 ice time. Subban was back on the ice to start the third period clearly in pain. Limited as he was, Subban put in 11:46 in the third, broke up a two on one break and drew the first assist on Nathan Beaulieu‘s first career NHL goal. Total ice time 30:45.

 canadiens ottawwaGive Him A BreakDustin Tokarski has done his best for the team. Safe to say the Canadiens haven’t done their best for Tokarski. Tokarski has lost four of his last five starts; twice against the Senators, plus Arizona and Edmonton in overtime.

All Alone – Seemed like the only way the Canadiens could possibly win a game like this would be if Max Pacioretty were to get a hattrick. He had his moments. . A total of seven shots on goal and six scoring chances. And on his second breakaway of the night, his 27th goal of the season. Unfortunately his linemates weren’t having the same kind of night. David Desharnais had no shot attempts in the game. Dale Weise took two shots; neither hit the net.

Coming Up Empty – As a unit, the Canadiens best was Plekanec/Galchenyuk/Gallagher. The combined for a season high 16 shots. Plekanec had a game-leading eight, all of them in the final two periods. Galchenyuk had a very good first period and Gallagher was, as Gallagher always is. In the end, nothing to show for it all.

Also Worth Mentioning – ….The already active trade deadline rumour mill will start to heat up after the Emelin injury which could be long term. Early favourite seems to be some kind of deal with Toronto for the 226 pound Emelin-clone Roman Polak. …..Andrei Markov‘s ice time was 28:51. Over the last three games 86:29. Has everyone forgotten he turned 36 in December? ….Greg Pateryn probably thought he would get something in the neighbourhood of 10 to 12 minutes ice time. He wound up with 15:11 including, somewhat surprisingly, 57 seconds on the power play and 1:58 killing penalty. And he was plus-one. …..Jacob de la Rose had six hits to lead the Canadiens. Pateryn was second with three.  ….Outside of Pacioretty’s eight, the most scoring chances for the Canadiens belonged to Brandon Prust (5) and Lars Eller (4).   Probably sums up the Canadiens night perfectly.

Ahead – The Florida Panthers Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The Panthers are in a battle with the Bruins for the second wild card berth in the Eastern Conference. They will be ready. The question seems to always be – Will the Canadiens?