The Montreal Canadiens survived a poor second period to score three unanswered goals in the third period en route to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. Jeff Halpern scored early in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Brian Gionta and Roman Hamrlik also scored in the final period. Michael Cammalleri opened the scoring with a power play goal in the seventh minute and the Senators’ Nick Foligno evened it, also on a power play at 19:51.

The second period saw the Canadiens badly outplayed. Through the final 15 minutes they were outshot 13-4 but couldn’t beat Carey Price who recorded his league leading 17th win of the season. Scott Gomez suffered an “upper body” injury in the second period and did not return. He is now listed as day-to-day.

Summing It Up – It’s not very often a team can completely lose it’s poise and then regain it within the same game. That’s what happened to the Canadiens in this one. After a dominant first period and a strong first five minutes of the second, the Canadiens game completely left them. They were beneficiaries of a five minute major and were able to get 2 shots on goal. Late in the period Mike Fisher was given a four minute penalty for highsticking Jeff Halpern. That was nullified when Alexandre Picard took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. That being said, lots of life when the third period opened. Halpern was pressed into duty as the second line centre when Gomez went down. He scored the winning goal. Price, for the second game in a row was not overworked, even in the second period. In his last 13 games he’s given up one goal or fewer eight times. Tomas Plekanec had an outstanding night in the faceoff circle winning 20 of 26 (77%) including 9 of 13 against the Senators number one centre Jason Spezza. Another steady night from Yannick Weber. Lars Eller, although he picked up an assist, wasn’t as noticable a she had been except on the physical side of his game. Hamrlik was great; a goal- plus 2- 25:01 ice time most of it when Spezza and Alfredsson were on the ice. The Canadiens are now 16-1-2 when they score the first goal and 11-4-2 at home. Now the fun begins. Road games in Detroit and Toronto this weekend. Nine of the next eleven on the road through to New Year’s eve.

How It Went

The First Period

Great Start – The Canadiens got the first five shots on goal with Gionta, Gomez, Kostitsyn getting solid scoring chances. The first Ottawa shot came at 8:01 of period after the Canadiens had taken seven on Pascal Leclair.

That Important First One – At 8:43 Matt Carkner was called for holding. On the power play Michael Cammalleri stole the puck from Daniel Alfresson deep in the Ottawa zone and fired a quick shot. On the rebound he picked the far side of the net from a bad angle for his ninth goal of the season.

Giving It Back – At 19:30 Josh Gorges went off for interfering with Milan Michalek. It took just 21 seconds for Nick Foligno who whistle a high shot over the glove on Carey Price. End of the first period; 1-1 tie. Shots on goal 13-6 for the Canadiens.

The Second Period

Another Good Start – The home team opened the second period the way they opened the first. The Gomez line in it’s opening shift were very much involved in a sequence of three shots in 26 seconds. It was to be Gomez’ second last shift of the game. His next time out he suffered the “upper body” injury that ended his night.

The Winds Change – At exactly five minutes Leclair stopped a 30 foot Alexandre Picard shot and held it for a faceoff. At that point the Canadiens were outshooting the Senators 6-2 in the period. For some reason they stopped skating in a tie hockey game.

Golden Opportunity – At 8:46 Chris Kelly was handed a five minute penalty for boarding Yannick Weber. The Canadiens power play was awful. Through the five minutes the shots on goal were 2-1 for Montreal and there wasn’t one scoring chance. And the fans were starting to boo.

Save of the Night – At 16;26 Chris Neil separated Maxim Lapierre from the puck and let a labeled hard wrist shot go from just outside the crease. Price snagged it with his glove. Through the final 15 minutes of the period the Canadiens were outshot 7-3. After two periods still 1-1. Shots in the second 13-9 Ottawa.

The Third Period

Turning It Back – The Canadiens opened the third period with Alexandre Picard in the penalty box for 1:23. Then they went to work. Less than a minute after the end of the penalty Maxime Lapierre pucked the puck ahead for Halpern who entered the Ottawa zone on a 2-on-1. Leclair came out to cut the angle and forced Halpern to go very deep. Leclair went down and Halpern went up with the shot. 2-1 Canadiens.

No Answer – Over the next eight minutes the Senators failed to gain any net presence on Carey Price. Two of their four shots were 60 footers.

Clinching It – Filip Kuba was trying to take another of those 60 foot shots when he muffed it. Brian Gionta came out of the zone on a 2-on-1 with Tomas Plekanec to his left. Gionta kept the puck and scored his ninth of the season. 3-1.

Finishing It off – Starting goaltender Pascal Leclair was forced to leave the ice after a goalmouth pileup that led to minor roughing penalties to Chris Campoli and Tomas Plekanec. 49 seconds later, with Brian Elliott in the net, Gionta took a shot that rebounded high in the air with Roman Hamrlik lurking in the area. Hamrlik batted it past Elliott. After a review, the goal stood. Canadiens win 4-1. Shots in the third, 13-9 for the Canadiens.

The Goalscorers – Montreal – Cammalleri (9th) PPG (unassisted); Halpern (6th) (Lapierre); Gionta (9th) (unassisted); Hamrlik (3rd) (Gionta-Eller). Ottawa – Foligno (2nd) PPG (unassisted).

Shots on Goal – Ottawa 6-13-9 = 28 Montreal 13-9-13 = 35

The Three Stars – First – Michael Cammalleri (1 goal-5 shots) Second – Brian Gionta (1 goal 1 assist – 4 shots – 3 hits. Third – Jeff Halpern (1 goal – plus-1)

 

 

The Fenwick/Corsi Numbers

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20402 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 3 0 11 13 3 2 2 3 4 1
20402 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 0 6 3 1 0 4 1 4 1
20402 MTL 13 – L – CAMMALLERI, MICHAEL 0 0 7 7 3 1 2 2 7 -3
20402 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 1 0 7 11 5 3 -1 3 3 -1
20402 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 1 0 5 5 3 2 2 3 6 -1
20402 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 2 0 8 7 3 3 3 3 3 3
20402 MTL 26 – D – GORGES, JOSH 0 0 10 7 4 2 5 5 8 2
20402 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 3 0 26 25 16 7 13 13 15 11
20402 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 0 8 3 2 0 7 1 4 4
20402 MTL 40 – C – LAPIERRE, MAXIM 1 0 4 7 5 1 2 3 5 0
20402 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 2 0 13 15 3 2 1 4 7 -2
20402 MTL 45 – D – PICARD, ALEXANDRE 1 0 4 4 10 3 8 4 3 9
20402 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 2 0 7 8 2 3 0 2 2 0
20402 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 0 0 6 6 4 2 2 5 0 7
20402 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 0 0 7 6 6 2 5 5 2 8
20402 MTL 68 – D – WEBER, YANNICK 0 0 5 5 9 3 6 5 3 8
20402 MTL 75 – D – GILL, HAL 0 0 9 6 4 2 5 5 5 5
20402 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 1 0 8 4 7 2 10 6 1 15
20402 MTL 94 – C – PYATT, TOM 0 0 4 4 4 1 3 3 4 2