It was déjà vu all over again… same matchup, same result. Just like the season opener, the Ottawa Senators were just too much for the Montreal Canadiens to handle. Again, the Canadiens were undisciplined and it took away any chance they had of keeping up with the best team in the league.
Ottawa 1-0: Marian Hossa sends it towards the net from the corner, it hits Varada’s skate while he was crashing the net… and the puck slides between Theodore’s legs. Since the re-direct was not intentional the goal is good after review.
Ottawa 2-0: Peter Schaefer makes beautiful individual play. He comes in 1-on-2 vs. Rivet and Markov. He’s on Rivet’s side so Markov backs off and looks to take the next attacker. Schaefer then makes a double move on Rivet, outside then back in, then finishes it off with a perfect backhander under the crossbar on Theo’s glove side. All Rivet can do is come shove Schaefer to the ice once the play is over, way to go Craig.
Montreal 1-2: The Habs get back into it before the end of the 1st period. On a faceoff just inside the blue line, Bégin wins the faceoff to Souray. Sundstrom they interferes just enough with Marian Hossa to allow Souray to step in towards the goal uncontested and he buries a slap shot, top corner glove side from the top of the circle.
Ottawa 3-1: Montreal starts off the 2nd period with two consecutive unnecessary high-sticking penalties… the second of which ends up costing them as they just can’t seem to learn. Hossa & Alfredsson keep passing the puck back & forth deep in the zone, with poor Souray skating back & forth trying to cover both. While this is going on Quintal is caught watching the puck and forgets his man in front of the net, Hossa feeds Havlat wide open in front of the net… no chance for Theo.
Montreal 3-2: Montreal gets back to within a goal at the start of the 3rd period. Bonk gets called for tripping and near the end of the man advantage Souray, him again, drives another howitzer from the point past Lalime. It was a low shot glove side with the huge Chara screening Lalime on the play as he tried to block the shot.
Ottawa 4-2: A full 46 seconds later, the Habs give the momentum right back. Our “faceoff king” Yannick Perreault loses a faceoff in the defensive zone to rookie Jason Spezza, there’s a shot from the point that deflect off someone in front. The puck happens to deflects towards Spezza at the side of the net who wasn’t covered by Perreault. Spezza slides it into the open net.
Ottawa 5-2: That 4th Ottawa goal really broke Montreal‘s back, you could feel a let down from that point on. A few minutes later Markov turns it over in the neutral zone to Alfredsson who comes in on a odd man rush but decides to keep it and beats Theo with a perfect wrist shot, top corner glove side just under the crossbar.
Ottawa 6-2: Garbage goal. With a few minutes left Zednik takes a high-sticking penalty. Ottawa controls the puck until a shot from the blue line just misses the net, hits the backboard and comes right back to the side of the net… Bonk just has to tap it in.
– Ok, so Ottawa‘s a better team… we knew that, but let’s at least make them earn it. The Habs keep shooting themselves in the foot with stupid avoidable penalties, and even when the other team doesn’t score on the PP the Habs completely lose their offensive rythm. Every time the Habs could avoid taking a penalty for a 5-10 minute stretch they started taking it to Ottawa… it’s not rocket science just stay out of the box!
– The Habs pulled their third straight no-show in the 3rd period, outshot 12-4 this time. The Canadiens have to start finishing strong, especially when they’re behind after two.
– The best offensive line keeps being the Juneau line, but sadly despite their good play the lack of skill results in a lot of scoring chances but very few goals. Dackell could have had a hat-trick tonight with all the chances he had, instead he left the game empty handed.
– And what about poor Markov, who has to be paired with Craig Rivet. They both ended up -3, and that pair has had a very difficult time vs. Ottawa this year. Markov was responsible for Ottawa‘s 5th goal, but the game was already lost by then. You almost can’t blame him for trying to do too much, since he’s not getting much help out there.
Habs’ hero: The easiest pick of the year, Sheldon Souray without a doubt… he did it all tonight. He played a team high 25:38, and scored both the Habs’ goals. He played 7 minutes on the PP, 7 minutes on the PK, was physical all night and did it all without taking any stupid penalties. That Malakhov-for-Souray trade is looking like a steal right now, especially when you consider Montreal had to deal Vlad from a position of weakness after the “skiing controversy”.
Habs’ zero: This time zero isn’t strong enough a word. Rivet wasn’t a zero, he was worse… (-3) to be exact. Not only did Schaefer made him look like a fool on the second goal, but he was awful all night long. On top of that he took a mindless & selfish roughing penalty on that same Schaefer later on in the game, when the Habs were still in it.
Honourable mention to Perreault, who was utterly useless tonight. He failed to win a key faceoff against the rookie Jason Spezza in the defensive zone just after Montreal had scored to make it 3-2, then didn’t cover him after the faceoff either… his man scored and effectively put the game away at that point.
It’ll take a near-perfect gave for the Canadiens to beat Ottawa, and once again they were nowhere near perfect. No discipline, blown plays, missed defensive assignments, and they couldn’t convert on the chances they did have. But as was the case in the season opener, this isn’t the end of the world. Ottawa is the best team in the league and they’ll make a lot of teams look bad before the season is over.
It’s just one loss, now the Habs just need to focus on the next game and not let this game be the start of a losing streak. They managed to rebound from it 2 weeks ago, there’s no reason they can’t do it again.
But these 2 games vs. Ottawa might encourage the Canadiens to aim a little higher than 8th in the conference, because a 1st round matchup with the Sens doesn’t sound like something anyone should be striving for.
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