Halfway through the game the Canadiens were down 2-0, had managed only seven shots on Craig Anderson and looked like there main interest was not being late for the bus to Montreal.
Two minutes into the second half of the game, Michel Therrien started to juggle his lines and the Canadiens came to life. Through the next thirty minutes the Canadiens held a 15-14 edge in shots and outscored the Senators 3-1. In the end the Canadiens played half a game or less and still came away with a point in the standings. Go figure.
Al Montoya was a star in Buffalo. In Ottawa, if the Canadiens had won the game he might have been considered the game’s first star. Halfway through the game the scoring changes were 12-3 in favour of the Senators who had every right to think they should have been ahead by four or five goals. The Canadiens took three of four points on the road to start the season. Credit to the backup goaltender.
I have no idea who persuaded Marc Bergevin to go hard after the services of free agent Alexander Radulov back in early May, but I can guess it was Canadiens chief European scout Christer Rockstrom. Predictably, the doubters questioned the wisdom of committing 5.75 million salary cap dollars to land him with the Alexander Semin disaster fresh in their minds. We haven’t seen Radulov’s name on the score sheet yet but his impact has been considerable. So far I haven’t seen one part of his game that has been sub-par. If you’re looking for the moment when the Canadiens started to turn this game around one could probably point to the 12th minute of the second period when Radulov replaced Gallagher on the line with Galchenyuk and Pacioretty. For the first time in the game the Canadiens showed life. And let’s not forget the major league move to score that goal in the first round of the shootout.
Jeff Petry missed the opening game with that tweaked knee. His presence was considerable in Ottawa especially on the second wave of the power play. The first of his two goals came officially on a Canadiens advantage. His second goal came two seconds after a penalty to Dion Phaneuf had expired. Some of last season’s injuries were felt more than others. The loss of Petry last year was one of those that really hurt. He played with Andrei Markov for the most part.
They got Shea Weber from Nashville to eat up playing minutes. He logged 29:27, a full seven minutes more than defense partner Nathan Beaulieu. There was 5:39 on the power play and 4:34 penalty killing thrown-in plus eight shot attempts (four on goal), an assist, five hits and two blocked shots.
…..Michel Therrien shuffled all four of his lines through the final half of the game. Radulov with Galchenyuk and Pacioretty in the second period and for seven shifts in the third period Radulov was with Plekanec and Pacioretty while Galchenyuk centred Gallagher and Byron. Artturi Lehkonen‘s first career goal came while playing on the fourth line with Danault and Mitchell. Who knows whether Therrien will stick with the changes Tuesday against Pittsburgh.
….Lehkonen also acted as a screen on Petry’s first goal.
….There was a little more life to Max Pacioretty‘s game which can only be put in the “good news” column. Still like to see more offensive presence from him though.
….We’re all waiting for Alex Galchenyuk to start his season. He was close to invisible in this one and in two games he has won seven of 26 faceoffs. He was a gawdawful 2 and 13 (13%) against the Senators.
….The Canadiens power play showed improvement but it was their penalty killing that stood out in this game, especially in the third period when first Byron went off and then Pacioretty 25 seconds later. Ottawa with a 5-on-3 for 1.49 with two of the Canadiens top penalty killers in the box and the Senators didn’t get a shot on goal.
….I did a doubletake when I saw Paul Byron was minus-3 in the game. He was a lot better than that. It is one of those game statistics that should be taken with a grain of salt.
….Sven Andrighetto cleared waivers Saturday and will join St. John’s for their game Sunday in Providence against the Bruins affiliate. Mike Condon fails to clear waivers but nobody takes Andrighetto. Given a choice I would have bet the opposite. Especially surprised with all of their key injuries, Buffalo didn’t take a shot at Andrighetto.
….The Canadiens AHL affiliate has missed the playoffs five straight years, four of them under the direction of coach Sylvain Lefebvre. They opened their season with a 6-3 loss in Hartford Friday night and dropped a 5-2 decision in Albany Saturday. Free agent signing and former Hurricane Chris Terry has three of the IceCaps five goals while playing on the first line with Charles Hudon and Mike McCarron.