It’s the ninth time in their twenty-eight games this season they produced forty or more shots including each of the last four. For a couple of reasons, they won only five of those games including two of those last four.
On some of the nights that forty shots weren’t enough, the Canadiens offense wasn’t very good. On other nights it was goal tending. Against the Senators both goaltending and offence came together and, considering the standings, it couldn’t have been more timely because the win not only kept the Canadiens in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference two points ahead of the Rangers but also kept the Senators from catching them in the standings.
There have been times over the last month when Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin haven’t exactly been on the same page. They had it back in spades against the Senators. Three point nights for both of them and it was all speed. Domi set up Drouin off a two-on-one to make it 1-0 and with it tied at 1-1 it was Drouin to Domi twice in the span of 48 seconds to ultimately decide the game. I like it when Domi plays angry as he did against the Senators. Thirteen goals now for Domi and Drouin has ten. Both on track for career seasons .
For half the game Carey Price had to be really good because Anderson was a shot-for-shot equal at the other end of the ice. This was the Price that’s been missing for the better part of the last 100 games. He was good in every department. He made the big saves, especially in the first half of the second period when the Senators turned the heat up. His rebound control and puck handling also were excellent. We’ve seen periodic outings like this. What we haven’t seen is three or four dominant wins in a row that could then be considered a trend.
Before the game Claude Julien announced that he was moving Paul Byron‘s speed up to the line with Drouin and Domi and Andrew Shaw down to play with Kotkaniemi and Lehkonen. Byron was on the ice for two of those three quick goals late in the second period and picked up an assist. Shaw drew second assist on the Lehkonen goal and chipped in with five shots. Julien also made a winger out of Mike Peca with Chaput and Agostino and the fourth line wasn’t the anchor it’s been for most of the last month.
ALSO WORTH MENTIONING
….The Senators have the worst defence in the league and it caved giving up the decisive three goals in 3:39 late in the second period.
….The game featured the number three (Kotkaniemi) and number four (Brady Tkachuk) choices in the 2018 draft. Neither team has reason, for different reasons, to doubt the wisdom of their scouting departments.
….Mike Reilly was recently benched for five of seven games because he abandoned the speed part of his game. It’s back. Second straight solid effort, especially rushing the puck. He also led the game with five hits.
….Brett Kulak continues to play within himself next to Shea Weber.
….Phillip Danault was his usual solid self defensively but again drew blanks on the scoresheet. He has one goal his last 21 games – two for the season. Not what you want from the centre of what is often described as the Canadiens top line.
….Weber led both teams with 25:20 ice time. Interesting to note that the four straight 40-shot games have come in the four games since he returned to the lineup.
….The Canadiens were 46% in the faceoff circles. Danault won 6 of 10 – 38%.
This was the first of three meetings with the Senators in a thirteen day stretch. Game two will be Thursday in Ottawa. After than it’s on to Chicago on Sunday and Minnesota next Tuesday to complete the three game road trip. Then they’re back home to Carolina on the 13th and Ottawa again on the 15th.