After Thursday’s emotional game, the Canadiens were faced with a must-win scenario. Eric Gryba’s hit on Lars Eller earned him a two-game suspension and the Habs walked into this game missing captain Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, and Eller, who was released from hospital Friday. Emotions were high leading up to the game, with Brandon Prust providing some billboard material and Michel Therrien questioning Paul MacLean’s words after
There was nothing special to note from the first period. Montreal picked up where they left off, peppering Craig Anderson with the same results as Thursday night. Carey Price did his job and established some confidence for his boys in front of him, making difficult saves. Montreal was undisciplined in the frame, taking three penalties, but, showing no signs of the flailing penalty kill during the regular season, killed them off. They even managed to generate good chances on the disadvantage.
This wasn’t the wild show I expected with the lead up but some pretty classy, good hockey on both sides.
Price continued his strong play to start the second period as both teams traded early scoring chances. Ryan White opened the scoring on a nothing play,
his excellent forecheck knocking down a poor decision pass from Erik Karlsson in the offensive zone
and putting the Canadiens up 1-0 early in the second period. Fifty-three seconds later, Brendan Gallagher doubled the Canadiens lead.
Price chipped two teeth right after the second goal as Jarred Tinordi’s skate hit him in the face in his crease. He calmly gave his
teeth to a team physician and the game carried on. Ottawa pulled back to within
one midway through the second on a delayed call as Chris Phillips let one go
from the point that may have deflected before going in. The teams went back and forth throughout the period, the Canadiens killing off another penalty at periods’ end with Price coming up huge on a few occasions.
Shortly thereafter, Michael Ryder found himself in the right place at the right time to put the Habs up 3-1 to end the period towards the end of the frame.
Ottawa opened the period looking dangerous, applying pressure but the Canadiens weathered the storm. Anderson kept up his stellar play, stoning Alex Galchenyuk in front of the net. The Canadiens brought a tough brand of hockey in the third and both teams traded big hits throughout the frame. Craig Anderson kept the Senators in it but there was never really any danger of the
Habs losing the handle on this one.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – Carey Price
He was what he needed to be for this game. He made the stops he needed to, gave the confidence the team needed from the back end, lost teeth and went on as if nothing happened.
I wouldn’t say he stole it but he made sure everyone understood he showed up and no softies were getting through.
Stats – 29 saves on 30 shots, .967 SV%, 1.00 GAA
2nd Star – Brendan Gallagher
This kid is a competitor. He comes to play every night, does everything a player should do in the playoffs. His grit, tenacity and pure will to perform gets him a nod. And he scored.
Stats – 1 goal, even rating, 4 shots (10 attempts), 12:09 TOI
Third Star – Craig Anderson
He’s good. Anderson made saves and did his best to keep his boys in it. If it wasn’t for Anderson, this one would
have been out of reach.
Stats – 31 saves on 34 shots, .912 SV%, 3.05 GAA
Honourable Mention – Rene Bourque
He played the game he’s expected to play.
Bourque showed he can be a power forward that doesn’t necessarily need to contribute
on the scoreboard to make an impact. He got a helper and was
a presence throughout the game.
Stat of the night
33-26 – the smaller team threw the body. It might not
be one of those stats that blows you away but the team responded physically
after an unfortunate event. They went out, threw bodies around, put it on the line and the Senators didn’t have an answer.