12 ottaw 5 condraThe Senators got first period goals from Bobby Ryan and Patrick Wiercioch and, led by another outstanding night in the nets from Craig Anderson skated to a 5-1 Friday night at the Bell Centre. Also scoring for Ottawa were Erik Karlsson, Erik Condra and Ryan with his second goal of the night. Tom Gilbert scored for the Canadiens in the third period with the score already 3-0. Shots on goal in the game favoured the Canadiens 46-25. The three stars were Anderson, Karlsson and the Canadiens Alex Galchenyuk. The Canadiens still lead the series three games to two with Game Six back in Ottawa Sunday.

Adding It Up –

Dry Well – With an offense ranked in the bottom third of the league nobody expected the Canadiens would fill the net in this series, but the utter failure of the go-to scorers such as Pacioretty, Plekanec, Galchenyuk and Gallagher to find the net has reached a serious level and may ultimately put the team in a bad place. After five games that group has a total of three goals. Depending on fourth liners to carry a series load is a recipe for failure.

12 ottawa galchenyukMoney Man – He’s not Carey Price, but Craig Anderson has become a major pain for the Canadiens. He stopped 45 of 46 shots in this game including 19 of 20 in the third period. In his three series appearances he has stopped 120 of 123 shots, a save percentrage of .976. He’s making this series take on all of the aspects of 2013. .

The Game Plan – The Senators tactics were made abundantly clear in the first period. They got in Price‘s face early and it led to both goals and very nearly a third in the first period. After the Canadiens opened up a 9-1 shots advantage Mika Zibanejad took any chance away for Price to see Bobby Ryan‘s shot for the opening goal. Six minutes later, same story. Wiercioch grabbed a bad clearing pass and waited for his forwards to take away Price’s vision before making it 2-0. Four of the five Ottawa goals were scored in the same manner.

No Answer – In front of Anderson the story was much different. Up against a defense that averages 6’4”, Canadiens forwards found themselves boxed out in front of the net giving Anderson a clear view of most their shots. What was troubling was the reluctance of the Canadiens to pay the price in the dirty areas. Dale Weise was one of the few to fight his way into the blue paint and his screen allowed Tom Gilbert to score the only Canadiens goal.

Broken Record – Another O-fer from the Canadiens power play. In the first minute they were handed an advantage when Ottawa was caught with too many men. Another blown opportunity. No shots on goal and not even close. On the night the Canadiens had 5:07 of power play time with four shots. That makes them now 1-for-19 in 34:40 of power play time and 35 shots. That adds up around one shot for every minute of power play time. Definitely not helpful, especially when Ottawa scored it’s 4th and 5th PPG’s of the series in this game.

The Hard Way – It doesn’t seem like it but the Canadiens remain in the driver’s seat in the series. Ottawa still needs to win two more to win the series. The Senators keep saying the pressure is all on the Canadiens. They can keep saying it but it’s the Senators who still have their backs up against it. And it is the Senators who have given up 123 shots the last three games. They’ll be making some changes in the way they attack the Ottawa net before Sunday night’s game. If they don’t then the pressure will be on the Canadiens in game seven.

12 ottawa 5 plekAlso Worth Mentioning – ……Off the scoresheet – Plekanec, Prust, Eller, Petry and Subban had four shots on goal. Weise and Smith-Pelly each registered six hits. Ottawa outhit the Canadiens 50-39. ……For what it’s worth, even-strength scoring chances favoured the Canadiens 20-16. The Corsi numbers favoured the Canadiens 67-46. ……P.K./E.K. battle favoured Karlsson on this night simply because he scored the goal that made it 3-0 on a second period power play. All of the other numbers favoured Subban. He took ten shots, four of them on-goal, registered four hits and blocked five shots. In the Corsi numbers Subban was plus-9 – Karlsson minus-3. ….I’m not so sure about Galchenyuk as the game’s third star. I might of leaned more toward a Subban or maybe Weise. ……19 year old Jacob de la Rose appeared a little overwhelmed in Games Three and Four. He was much better in this game.

Next Up – The Canadiens will hold an optional Saturday at their Brossard facility and then bus up to Ottawa for Game Six which is now scheduled for at 6:05 puck drop Sunday. Will there be any lineup changes? Interesting question.