Thursday’s affair in Ottawa was the first game of the season where both the
Habs and their opponent weren’t fighting for a playoff spot. Boy, did it
show too. It was a game where both sides looked to just try and play
things out and some overtime sloppiness proved costly for Montreal as they
dropped a 3-2 decision to the Sens.
Brian Gionta kicked off the scoring in the 2nd period on a loose puck in
front of the net; that lead held all the way until the 3rd period.
However, some sloppy play (the theme after 40 minutes for the Habs) led to Jason
Spezza tying it before the 3rd was a minute old. Bobby Butler gave the
Sens a lead with under 3 minutes left but the Habs fought back. Mike
Cammalleri sniped one home with just over 10 seconds to go to send this to the
extra frame. In overtime, the Canadiens struggled to control and clear the
zone; Filip Kuba took advantage and blasted home the winner.
Alex Auld made only his second start since February 26th and turned aside 29
of 32 shots in the loss while Craig Anderson made 27 saves at the other end.
The Habs were 0/3 on the powerplay including a 5 minute one where they failed to
register a shot. Tom Pyatt was injured on the play resulting in that
extended man advantage and did not return. The Senators were 0/2 with
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: Andrei Kostitsyn (1 assist, -1 rating, 2 PIMS, 6
shots, 3 hits, 19:05 TOI)
After taking that penalty which nullified a powerplay early on, he was the
most dominant forward out there for the Habs. He had several good scoring
chances, made the right reads in the offensive zone, and made the good cross
crease pass to set up the game tying goal late in regulation. He also led
all Montreal players in hits.
2nd Star: Brian Gionta (1 goal, +1 rating, 4 shots, 1 takeaway,
For the first half of the game, it was his line (with Gomez and Darche) that
was Montreal’s best and he was the catalyst, scoring the first goal while
creating several other chances. Snapping that 8 game goalless drought
could be the biggest thing coming out of this one, ending at least one of the
3rd Star: Mike Cammalleri (1 goal, -1 rating, 3 shots, 1/2
faceoffs, 20:20 TOI)
He was pretty quiet for the most part but in the late stages of the game
picked it up, tying it in the dying seconds while having another chance mere
minutes before that. The one downside was his powerplay performance as he
was nearly invisible in over 3 minutes of PP time.
Honourable Mention: P.K. Subban (0 points, -1 rating, 4 shots,
I thought at times he was trying to force his offence too much but I’m giving
him the HM here for his work in the defensive zone. He hustled back all
night and broke up several plays that would have led to very good chances for
the Sens. Even without hitting the scoresheet, Subban found a way to have
a positive impact on the game.
Stats of the Night: Assuming this is Auld’s last start of the
season, he’ll wind up the year 3 games over .500, the best win percentage of his
career since 2005-06. His last loss in regulation for those wondering came
back on December 11th. Faceoffs on the road continue to be a huge concern
as the Habs as a team only won 15 draws all night, going 15/46, good for just
under 33%. Take away Tomas Plekanec’s 8/17 effort and the rest of the team
went a combined 7/29, or 24%. David Desharnais and Lars Eller were the
primary culprits, going 3/16 between the two of them.