Admittedly it could have been worse. And a road point is nothing to sneeze at in today’s NHL. Still, the result could have been better.
ONE THAT GOT AWAY
At the ten minute mark of the first period the Canadiens were outshooting the Senators 12-4 and were leading 2-1. For reasons that never seem to be explainable the Canadiens stopped moving the puck which is their signature improvement over the mess of last year. Through the game’s final 50 minutes and the overtime Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 30-15.
The Canadiens didn’t do enough in this game to get into overtime. They can thank Carey Price and his work in the third period for actually getting them there.
Most memorable of three important Ottawa scoring chances in the third was his scrambling, diving, flopping play around the ten minute mark.
I’m sure Price would like to have all four goals back but only one of them he might look at and say “I should have had that one” was the Senators second goal. On that one he pulled away from the short side post and was down on a shot by Mikkel Boedker. Not much he could do about the two Mark Stone goals including the game winner and the Duchene power play goal was the result of slick three way passing.
WHICH BRINGS US TO……THE DEFENCE
As a whole this was not the defence’s finest hour.
I thought the third pairing of Jordie Benn and Maxim Ouellet was okay. Oullet has been surprisingly useful.
Otherwise there were issues.
I wonder what Karl Alzner‘s future with this team can be. On the Senator’s first goal, Alzner’s soft pass behind the net was intercepted by Stone who ultimately scored on a setup by Chris Tierney. There’s a lack of quickness to Alzner‘s game that just doesn’t fit into what Claude Julien is trying to do. Add to that the sometimes dangerous way his partner Jeff Petry plays and there can be, and last night were, problems.
I thought Noah Juulsen had an off night as well. Victor Mete was not in the lineup again.
Will the real Jonathan Drouin please stand up.
We were hoping that what we saw in the previous two games was the new and improved Jonthan Drouin. Seems like it was merely a mirage. He returned to his old form in this game. Back to his junior habit of overhandling the puck. He produced one shot on goal and was mostly invisible.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi made a great play under pressure to start the sequence leading to the Canadiens third goal. He had a few of those moments in the game. Have you noticed how often he falls? That’s probable a function of the fact he’s still barely 18 and weighing 185 lbs.
It’s really hard to pick on fourth lines. Nicolas Deslaurier played in his first game wearing a full cage to protect that facial fracture. Not much there. And, with Plekanec out, Peca moved back to centre where I don’t think he really belongs.
If Plekanec’s back problem persists, why not give Scherbak a try before they lose him? Can he have a lesser impact than Deslaurier?
….Oh those faceoff statistics! Worst in the league. 42% in this game. Danault‘s face-off loss to Matt Duchene led directly to the overtime winning goal. The Canadiens won only 34% of their defensive zone face-offs (8 of 22 attempts).
….The Canadiens allowed a power play goal in their fourth consecutive game. They’ve given up six in seven games and opponents are scoring at 28%. The power play isn’t much better. Special teams the Canadiens are minus-2 through seven games.
….Another first assist for Tomas Tatar his team leading 8th point of the season. That line with Danault and Gallagher was again the Canadiens best, producing nine shots on goal.
….Joel Armia and Danault led the Canadiens with five shots each. Four of Armia‘s five shots came in the first period.
….Deslaurier and Petry led with four hits each. Alzner and Juulsen blocked three shots each. Alzner had three posted giveaways.
….The only centre that came reasonably close to winning 50% of his faceoffs was Max Domi at 47% (8 of 17 attempts). Danault was at 44 percent (11 of 25).
The Canadiens are home to Calgary on Tuesday night before games in Buffalo and Boston Thursday and Saturday. When all is said and done, through seven games the Canadiens have still lost only one game in regulation time (4-1-2). Enjoy it while you can. There will some rough patches ahead.