The first period of last nights Canadiens Senators game was rather boring as both teams decided to sit back and relax. Combining for just 14 shots in the opening frame and few if any scoring chances the game was deadlocked at goose eggs after 20 minutes.
During the early stages of the 2nd period Alexander Perezhogin was booked for hooking, Montreal’s 4th hooking penalty of the evening. A little over half way through the kill Andrei Markov made an excellent play at his own blue line allowing Chris Higgins to gather the puck in the neutral zone, Higgins blew by Senators defenseman Joe Corvo and buried his 7th goal of the season to give the Canadiens the first lead in the game.
Montreal’s all Russian line would extend the lead to two shortly before the end of the period. Alexander Perezhogin out hustled Chris Phillips allowing Sergei Samsonov to send a cross crease pass to Alex Kovalev who made no mistake scoring his fourth goal of the season, the Canadiens 4th Russian Andrei Markov was the defenseman who sent the puck into the Senators zone.
David Aebischer shutout bid was ended early in the third period on the Senators 25th shot on goal. Jason Spezzas’ shot was deflected into the top corner by Patrick Eaves, although Spezza was credited with the goal.
With 75 seconds remaining in regulation time the score was 2-1. But three goals were scored in the final seconds.
Andrei Markov scored what turned out to be the game winning goal on an empty net from behind his own goal line. 19 seconds later Radek Bonk broke up a play in the neutral zone, passed to puck to line mate Mike Johnson set up Steve Begin for his first goal of the season. Finally with less than 10 seconds left Tom Preissing behind the Canadiens goal line for his 2nd of the season.
Game Notes: Mike Komisarek left the game in the final minutes and did not return. Komisarek was drilled behind the Canadiens net by Patrick Eaves. Komisarek is the third Canadiens defenseman in 2 games against the Senators to leave the game early. Komisarek will be re-evaluated today. The Canadiens who entered the game ranked 2nd overall in face-off percentage were an abysmal 37% last night dropping them 3 spots to 5th overall.
1. David Aebischer was once again spectacular making the big saves when he was called upon. Especially in the 3rd period as he made 14 saves.
2. Chris Higgins lifted his team’s spirits with his 3rd short handed goal of the season, and was once again a force to be reckoned with all night long.
3. Andrei Markov who mysteriously was not credited with a +1 for the Higgins goal although he did gather an assist on the play also scored the game winning goal into the Senators empty net.
1. Chris Higgins has more short handed goals then every team in the NHL except for Pittsburgh.
2. Steve Begin scored 11 times last year but last nights goal was his first in 38 regular season contests.
3. Last year the Senators power play was 4th best in the league running over 20% this season they are below 10% and ranked second to last in the entire league.