The Habs fired 40 shots Ray Emery’s way but were unable to bury enough goals passed the Ottawa goaltender for the win. They were, however, able to place themselves at a disadvantage 8 times by playing without the required discipline. Montreal was able to kill off all but one of the penalties, thanks in part to Steve Begin who played his first game since missing the last 27 matches.
The 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators dropped Montreal three points back from their division rival. With the Pittsburgh Penguins also picking up a win Saturday night, the Habs remain three points out of both the forth and fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, both which belong to the Penguins and Senators respectively.
Ottawa got off to a quick start, scoring only 2 minutes into the game on a Mike Comrie shot that found its way past David Aebsicher. The Sens would double their lead eight minutes later on a Chris Kelly’s 10th goal of the season. One of the big problems for Montreal in the first was that they played nearly half of the period short-handed, collecting a total of 8 PIMS.
The second period saw a great showing from the Habs’ third line. Begin had been moved aside Radek Bonk and Mike Johnson as Coach Guy Carbonneau looked to his veterans to get Montreal back in the game. The line juggling worked as Johnson got hard behind the net along with Emery and was able to send the puck out front to Begin who shot it into the vacant net to break the lead in half.
Four minutes later it was Michael Ryder scoring his 16th goal of the season on a redirection of a Sheldon Souray shot. The power-play goal was one of two on the night for Les Habitants.
With the game tied at two, Montreal continued to apply pressure in attempt to take their first lead of the game but Emery was there to shut the door every time. With their goalie keeping them in the game, Ottawa was able to mount some momentum and regain their lead on a power-play goal by defenseman Wade Redden.
The Senators came out ready in the third, and Mike Fisher scored only 17 seconds into the frame to give Ottawa their 2-goal lead back. The marker proved to be the winner and Jason Spezza seemed to put the game out of reach when he finished off a 2-on-1 play with Dany Heatley.
Andrei Markov would make things interesting for the Habs with 15 minutes left to play in the game. Yet, the Russian defenseman’s forth goal was the last of the game as Montreal failed to rally back. The Canadiens didn’t go down without a fight, having got off 16 shots in the third period alone. Ottawa had the stronger goaltending on this night as Emery turned aside 37 of 40 shots overall.
The bad blood continued to build between Habs blueliner Mike Komisarek and Ottawa’s Chris Neil. The battle between the two began only a minute and a half into the game when Komisarek went out of his way to absolutely level Neil. The two would later collect 7 minutes in penalties each, including five for fighting, a bout that proved neither a clear winner.
Notes: Komisarek also had a game-leading eight hits. Begin and Maxim Lapierre tied for second with five apiece. Ottawa as a team had 29 blocked shots while Montreal had only 15. If you were to add the blocked shots to actual shots, Montreal would have out shot the Senators by 69 to 45. Defenseman Janne Niinimaa only played 2:37 and was a -2. Alex Kovalev was benched for a majority of the third period, receiving his first ice time of the final frame with only several minutes left in the game.