Dale Weise scored to tie the game with just over five minutes remaining in regulation time and then scored the winning goal at 8:46 of overtime and the Canadiens edged the Ottawa Senators 2-1. It gave the Canadien a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Quarter-final series with game four set for Ottawa on Wednesday.
The Senators’ Clarke MacArthur had given the Senators a 1-0 lead midway through the first period before the Canadiens got their game in gear. From that point on, the Canadiens held a 45-26 advantage in shots on goal. The final shots-on-goal total was 49-34. The three stars were Weise, Erik Karlsson and goaltender Craig Anderson.
Adding It Up –
Had A Hunch – At 13:28 of the third period Michel Therrien replaced Brian Flynn with Dale Weise on the line with Torrey Mitchell and Brandon Prust. He did it he said “to change the rhythm of the game.” Forty-five seconds later Weise gloved-down a puck in front of the Ottawa goal and batted it into the empty side. Therrien left the line together and on their sixth shift they struck again as Weise picked up Alexei Emelin‘s clear off the glass and sent Weise down the left wing. Somehow his shot squeezed past Anderson on the short side and the game was won.
A Lot With Little – Weise‘s ice time was 12:39. He was on the ice with Mitchell and Prust for 3:19 and six shifts. . In the game he produced his two goals on only three shots. The overtime goal was the second of his career. Remember Game One against Tampa last year?
On the Wrong Foot – There were two segments of the game where the Canadiens were back on their heels. While there should have no surprise, the Canadiens were caught off guard by the physical way the Senators started the game. Before they could collect themselves, they were being outshot 10-4 and the Senators heavy forecheck had taken it’s toll. First period hits were 27-16 and scoring chances were 13-7. The Canadiens also seemed to again lose control early in the overtime especially in the neutral zone and after a fairly quiet 45 minutes, Carey Price had to go back to work. He was brilliant on a Mark Stone slapper in the second minute and they were being outshot 6-2 before a penalty to Curtis Lazar changed momentum. While the Canadiens power play was for the most part awful, the winning goal was scored 23 seconds after Lazar penalty expired.
Beyond Weise – David Desharnais‘ night didn’t show on the scoreboard but his night’s work was beyond good. The glittering statistic in the game was Max Pacioretty‘s 11 attempts and 5 shots on goal, but Desharnais was the engine that drove the line. Together it produced ten shots and fifteen scoring chances.
The Sideshow – Erik Karlsson edged out Subban in the battle of the Norris Trophy winners. His play against the boards started the sequence that led to the Ottawa goal. And he was hitting a lot more than I’ve ever seen. That open ice hit at 6:58 of the second period eventually took Nathan Beaulieu out of the game with an “upper body” injury that is either a concussion or a shoulder problem. But the statistical lines on Subban and Karlsson were similar. In 27:33 Karlsson took 12 shots – four on goal and registered six hits. Subban’s ice time was 33:01 – 8:23 of that on the Canadiens six power plays. Eight of his 15 shots were on target and he hit a goalpost. And he had also six hits.
Back To Basics – Just when it appeared the Canadiens power play was undergoing a re-birth they went right back in the tank. In 10:08 of power play time they managed only eleven shots and were 0-for-6. The only time there was any marginally cohesive possession was when the Plekanec line was on the ice. Plekanec had three power play shots which matched Subban. Subban also hit the post. Failure to maintain possession seems to be the problem. Playing dump and chase doesn’t work when the opponent merely has to collect the puck and ice it. The power play is 1-for-13 in the series.
Also Worth Mentioning – …..The last time the Canadiens won back-to-back playoff games in overtime was 1993. They made it a habit that year, winning ten OT games in a row en route to their last Stanley Cup. …..In a hitter’s game, players like Alexei Emelin tend to stand out and, with all due respect to Subban, I thought Emelin had a great night. He drew first assist on the game winner as well as doing the heavy lifting alongside Jeff Petry, who’s physical presence doesn’t match that of Emelin. …..Scoring chances favoured the Canadiens 35-27. Pacioretty led with eight followed by Galchenyuk and Gallagher with 4 each. ……Might be a good idea for the Canadiens to wrap this up quickly. They’ll need time to heal the bruises. Ottawa outhit the Canadiens 61-36 in this game. In the series it’s now 147 to 109.
Moving On – The Canadiens caught a bus right after the game for a 2 ½ hour 197 kilometre ride to Mont Tremblant. It remains to be seen whether they’ll have the day off Monday. Tuesday they have a practice scheduled for the nearby St. Jovite Arena before they return to Ottawa in the evening. Wednesday they’ll try to wrap up the series and give themselves a week off.