The Canadiens scored four third period goals to come from behind and beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 at the Bell Centre Saturday night.
The Canadiens got goals from five different players, three of them from members of the third and fourth lines. In outshooting the Senators 47-18 the Canadiens recorded their third win in the now-completed four season Ottawa series..
The game also marked Claude Julien’s 600th NHL coaching win.
Despite the lopsided 47-18 shots on goal and the 68% Canadiens territorial advantage, this game was close into the third period. According to naturalstattrick.com through two periods the high danger scoring chances were were 4-4.
It wasn’t until the third period disallowed goal that the Canadiens started to gain the upper hand. Ultimately high danger scoring chances were 9-7 for Montreal.
NO FORGIVENESS FOR THE ZEBRAS
Criticizing refereeing is a losing proposition but he Canadiens (and their fans) had a right to be upset.
Three goals came under review. The replays were inconclusive as to whether Brady Tkachuk speared Carey Price in the back of the leg and sent him to the ice as Colin White was scoring Ottawa’s first goal but there had to be a reason he would Price go down so awkwardly. Claude Julien thought so when he challenged.
There was no question Brendan Gallagher kicked the puck into the net a minute later.
What upset everyone in the Bell Centre was the decision to disallow what would have a great Lehkonen to Danault shorthanded goal because Lehkonen was ruled to have taken a dive while making the play. Thomas Chabot was already being called on a delay for hooking back in his own end.
I must admit I’ve never seen anything like it. The crowd went crazy. So did Lehkonen and Julien.
They all had reason. Blame referee T.J Luxmore for this one.
Everybody was angry.
Phillip Danault, who up to the point of the disallowed goal had been the offensive millstone on the line with Gallagher and Tomas Tatar, played angry but productive hockey the rest of the game. The crowd reaction may have contributed but, whatever the reason it was his best offensive period of hockey this month.
As for the Canadiens, from the point of the disallowed goal they outshot Ottawa 18-3 and scored three times through the game’s final 18 minutes.
There were all kinds of personal battles going on in this game. The most notable was Gallagher vs. Brady Tkaczuk. Gallagher was in the face of the rookie-of-the-year candidate the entire night featuring plenty of off season pushing and backtalk. Despite the size difference, Gallagher was a unanimous winner. Gallagher, and to some extend Shea Weber, kept Tkaczuk completely off the offensive scoresheet – no shots on goal and no shots-attempted. At the same time Gallagher recorded five shots on goal and outhit Tkaczuk 7-1.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi was named the game’s first star. With him it’s always those little things to which you have to pay attention. Like the tricky stickhandling move through traffic before he set up Paul Byron for the tap-in game-clinching fourth goal. That came after he had tied the game with one of his deceptively hard shots that hit the post, bounced back off the goaltenders back and into the net. Seventeen points in 33 games is really good for someone who’s barely eighteen years old.
….Shea Weber. His fourth goal and seventh point in the nine games since his return. Also 6 shots on 9 attempts and another solid defensive night. Brett Kulak was good again too.
….Once again the fourth line has to be mentioned. Matthew Peca scored the first goal of the game. Kenny Agostino might have drawn an assist but his pass went off a defenceman right to Peca. The line was solid. Again Peca replaced Deslauriers on the wing and his speed, especially when he’s playing on the left side, is going to make him hard to get out of there.
….Once again Price was good. There was some concern in the Bell Centre after he seemed to be on the limp after taking that shot to the back of the leg from Tkaczuk on the first goal but he finished the game in fine form.
….This is ridiculous. The Canadiens attempted 83 shots on journeyman goaltender Mike McKenna to only 33 for the Senators. Only Danault and Michael Chaput failed to record a Canadiens shot on goal.
….The power play looked better but still was 0-for-4 and now 0-for-22 over the last seven games The game winning Weber goal came nine seconds after an Ottawa penalty expired.
….This was the third straight 5-2 Canadiens win over the Senators over a twelve day period. The Canadiens win the season series 3-1.
….After Saturday night the Canadiens hold down the first Eastern Conference wild card berth one point ahead of the Bruins. In their eight December games the Canadiens have a 6-2-0 record.
The Canadiens face Boston Monday night in what will be their final home game of the year. Their final six games of December will be on the road while the Cirque du Soleil takes over the Bell Centre. After Boston the Canadiens head to Colorado, Arizona and Las Vegas before the Christmas break.