12 ottaa 4 hoffman winnerRookie Mike Hoffman scored at 9:05 of the third period and the Ottawa Senators hung on to collect a 1-0 win over the Canadiens to extend the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series to a fifth game Friday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens still lead the series three-to-one. Each of the four games has been decided by a goal, twice in overtime. Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 32-28. The three stars were Craig Anderson, Hoffman and Carey Price.

Adding It Up –

The Breaks – It is often said “you make your own breaks”. This game was settled on an intercepted clearing pass by Tom Gilbert that was intercepted at the blue line by Cody Ceci who fed Hoffman for the winning goal with Zibanejad screening Price. All she wrote in a game dominated by the goaltenders. Ottawa goaltending issues may have decided the first two games. The last two have been decided by bounces.

Closing It Out – The Canadiens made a winning season out of their performances in their third periods. of games. In the third period of this game they weren’t very sharp. With the game on the line, Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 12-7, had seven of the twelve scoring chances and produced the only goal of the game.

The Hangover
– One of the key factors in the Canadiens 2014 playoff run was their power play. In 2015, it has been about as bad as it can be. 0-for-3 in this game with only five shots on goal. It’s now at 1-for-16 through a total 29:33 power play time and 31 shots. That adds up to about a shot per minute of power play time. The Canadiens are now at 6.25% and 15th among the 16 playoff teams.

12 game 4 andersonNo Panic …..Yet – The Senators avoided the embarrassment of going down in four straight games on their home ice, give them that. It was a home-ice kind of game. Ottawa will still have to beat Carey Price three more times to win this series which does create a challenge for them. But unlike games one and two, they now have the type of goaltending that can turn things around. Montrealers hardly need reminding of Craig Anderson‘s performance in the 2013 series when he stopped 171 of 180 shots for a .950 save%. No panic. Not yet.

M.I.A. – In this series the Desharnais line is being shut down by Ottawa’s Pageau/Condra/Lazar line. Even with five shots Max Pacioretty‘s offensive game seems out of sorts. Was that really a concussion that caused him to miss the final two games of the season and the first of this series, or something else? Still, the line did no damage. Desharnais/Pacioretty/Smith-Pelly were the only three Canadiens forwards on the plus side of the Corsi numbers. First item of business for Michel Therrien with the last change Friday night is to get the Desharnais line away from Pageau and company.

Newbie – ……Because the Hamilton Bulldogs haven’t made the playoffs in five years, this was Greg Pateryn‘s first ever playoff game in professional hockey. His 7:48 were pretty good minutes. He register four hits, almost every one of them a bone rattler including a sequence five minutes into the third period where he took Eric Condon out along the boards and within seconds flattened Pageau in front of Price. He was cut on the play and returned after stitches but didn’t get another shift. Most of his time was spent with Gilbert with a couple of minutes with Emelin.

12 ottawa 4 priceAlso Worth Mentioning – No goals for Dale Weise but he did lead the Canadiens with 6 hits, two shots and two blocked shots. …...Jeff Petry blocked four shots and also had three hits. ……The Subban/Karlsson matchup was pretty much a wash. Both played well but neither produced the game changing impact that they are capable of on some nights. Subban took five shots – two on goal. Karlsson took seven shots, but none found the net.

Next Up – Friday night – Game five of the series. The second chance for the Canadiens to eliminate Ottawa. Losing that game and heading back to Ottawa for a Game Six is not something the Canadiens want to do.