After that beating in the nations’ capital on Sunday night, this was a must-win, pull up your socks statement game for the Montreal Canadiens. They’ve bounced back in the regular season from big losses and there
was no bigger bounce-back game than Tuesday night. Giving the Ottawa Senators a
3-1 series lead heading back into Montreal would not be insurmountable, but it
would be a tall order. Unfortunately, that is the situation the team faces
after losing 3-2 in overtime. The Canadiens went into this without captain Brian Gionta and Ryan White, both sidelined with upper body injuries
and sadly the injury bug would strike again.
There was excellent tempo by both teams to start the game. Erik Karlsson started off by storming the trenches while Montreal applied some good pressure at the other end, with David Desharnais finally registering his first shot on goal in the series. Jeff Halpern missed a great chance to open the scoring three and a half minutes in a fortunate bounce from a P.K. Subban point shot, but was thwarted by Karlsson.
Desharnais took a hooking penalty shortly afterwards but the Canadiens killed it off without any threat. The Canadiens continued to apply pressure, generating chances but Craig Anderson remained sharp. Brandon Prust took a roughing penalty late in the period
and the Canadiens were sharp again on the penalty kill.
Ottawa started the period out strong forcing Carey Price into an uncomfortable save. Anderson was up to the test a few minutes later as the teams traded chances. P.K. Subban opened the scoring with a beautiful
wrist shot on a nice feed by Tomas Plekanec. Alex Galchenyuk scored 1:02 after with another elite shot as both goal scorers picked opposite corners on Anderson.
Montreal continued to pepper Anderson, but the Ottawa goaltender kept the Senators in it. The period played out with grit and toughness on both ends as each team had big hits, solid scoring chances and very limited chippiness. Milan Michalek was called on a questionable play near the end of the period but Montreal failed to capitalize before Subban was called for tripping.
Ottawa started the third period on the powerplay but failed to apply any pressure. The Senators turned it up the moment the penalty ended and just missed a few chances to pull one back. Bit of a scare for Canadiens fans as Brandon Prust fell awkwardly in the Senators corner but remained in the game. Ottawa brought their best out in the period, outshooting and out chancing the Canadiens.
Mika Zibanejad pulled one back for the Senators on a reviewed play (to see if
there was a distinct kicking motion) with under a little over eight minutes left in the frame. Montreal responded well with a pair of scoring chances and kept Ottawa pegged in their zone for a few minutes. The final minutes were frantic ones. Ottawa pulled Anderson with 1:25 left. The Canadiens had a questionable icing call with 53 seconds left and the Senators tied it up with 26 seconds left
as Cory Conacher buried one home from inside the crease.
Carey Price got injured at the end of the third period opening the door for Peter Budaj to take over. Tomas Plekanec had a good shot on net early on but if Anderson sees it, odds are he’ll stop it. Prust ended up leaving the game
after his first shift and shortly after that, Kyle Turris floated one past Budaj for the Senators win.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – Carey Price
He looked like he was in the zone, giving his players the confidence they needed in him.
He made difficult stops and couldn’t be faulted on either goal.
Stats: 30 saves on 32 shots – .938 save percentage – 2.00 GAA
2nd Star – Tomas Plekanec
He truly showed up to play this one. An excellent all around game for Plekanec with a beautiful play and excellent pass on the Subban goal. No shame in the way he played tonight.
Stats:: 0 goals – 1 assist – -1 rating – 2 shots – 1 hit – 2 takeaways – 21:49 TOI
3rd Star – Alex Galchenyuk
He was dangerous and involved throughout the game. He scored an absolute stunner in the second period and made some excellent passes with limited playing time.
Stats: 1 goal – 0 assists – +1 rating – 4 shots – 2 hits – 10:30 TOI
I’m giving it to Brandon Prust, who was visibly injured after his early third period fall into the boards. He was a menace before that play and while he had a hand in the tying goal, heart and character gets him the nod.
Stats: 0 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 1 shot – 5 hits – 2 PIM – 15:48 TOI
Stat of the Night
9. That’s the number of goals the Senators have scored in the third period to none by the Canadiens. Two blown third period leads and the Canadiens head home in terrible shape, both in the series and with healthy bodies.
Game five goes on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. For Montreal,
it’s now a win or go home situation.