There is no way to sugar coat this one. The Habs were dominated by the Senators reunited top line to the extent of a schoolyard bully taking lunch money from the terrified youth. Just ask Sergei Kostitsyn and his new found “birthmark” on his jaw.
Jason Spezza led the way with 3 goals and 3 assists, while linemates Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley added 5 and 4 points respectively for a combined effort of 15 points. Ray Emery faced a total of 34 shots and looked more like the Emery of last years Stanley Cup run, turning aside some great scoring chances.
This win for the Senators improves them to 4-1 vs the Habs this season and gives the team some more breathing room atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 5 point lead.
Now with the doom and gloom out of the way, lets look at the true story the scoreboard won’t show and even some positives from this game.
The first period was one to forget for Cristobal Huet as he looked iffy on the first goal, horrendous on the second goal, and completely alone on the third goal prompting Carey Price to come into the game. Those first 4 minutes that the Sens built up a 3 goal lead the entire team looked lost and couldn’t match the games tempo.
After the lead was established the Canadiens decided to change their fate and actually pressured Ottawa back on their heels. Chris Higgins hit the post on a breakaway and then the crossbar in a later shift. Kostopoulos and company couldn’t push the puck into the net while it was sitting loose in the crease behind Emery (ala Jason Spezza’s second goal), and Steve Begin had his shot miss an entire open net somehow. The first periods ends 3-0 Ottawa.
The second and third periods had more of the same for the Canadiens with chances missed and more goal posts being hit, mixed in with a few shifts of dominance by the Senators top line resulting in a 6-1 final even though the Senators were outshot 34-29.
The score shows a blowout, and aside from the first four minutes this game was alot closer. 6 times during the game the Canadiens hit goal posts or crossbars and missed a few open nets, which is rare for any NHL team. If even half of those chances go into the net, the game and the way it is played changes drastically.
You can bet that Carbonneau and the coaching staff will be using these positives to keep the team up and motivated on the flight to Florida for the next two games.
Quick Hit Quotes from the game
”The puck was following me tonight and when you get a couple of early ones you always feel a little better about your game,” Spezza said. ”Getting the lead is important against this team because they trap it up pretty good, so the early ones force them to take a few chances and that’s usually when we capitalize.” – Jason Spezza
“They definitely played a great game, We were aware of that and we wanted them to have their best players in the lineup but we didn’t compete enough so it was a pretty embarrassing night for us.” – Huet
“They came out obviously effectively in the first 5 minutes and we were down 3-0,” It’s not the situation we wanted to be in, especially against a team like that.” – Koivu
“We’re always wary of them, I think that line has killed us every time that we’ve played them. You can see the team they’re not when they’re not in the lineup. They’re an unbelievable trio. Alfie, I think, makes that team go and if you’re not mindful of what’s going on – I’ve been on that team and they can bury you in the first five minutes as well as anybody.” – Smolinski