On Saturday night, the Habs were looking to finish up their preseason on a
high (and healthy) note as they hosted the Senators in the second half of a
home-and-home. They went 0-for-2 in that regard as a pair of third period
powerplay goals gave Ottawa a 4-2 victory while they lost one of their projected
front line players to an injury.
The first period saw the Sens get the early chances and momentum. They
didn’t score on their early chances but instead tallied on a particularly odd
broken play. Jarred Tinordi failed to clear the zone and after the puck bounced
around for a while, Bobby Ryan – who was sprawled out on the ice prior to
touching the puck – made a pass to Mike Hoffman who fluttered one past Carey
Price for his second goal in as many nights.
That seemed to wake Montreal up as they took control of the play for the rest
of the period. This came in large part due to some untimely penalties from
Ottawa. Max Pacioretty tied it up as he capitalized on a rebound from a P.K.
Subban point shot on the powerplay (with a delayed penalty coming to the
Senators). They also had a lengthy two man advantage but were unable to take
the lead there. Late in the period, Subban took the puck for a lengthy skate,
got free of his check and dished a perfect pass to Andrei Markov who fired it by
Craig Anderson to give the Habs the lead after 20 minutes. Also noteworthy in
that frame was a fight between Brandon Prust and Mark Borowiecki, the latter’s
second in as many games after he and Subban had a lengthy scrap on Friday night.
The second period was the opposite of their previous matchup. In the first
one, the Canadiens controlled the play considerably but on Saturday, the Sens
were the better team. Price was sharp while he received some help from Tinordi
who stretched out to block a prime scoring chance. On the flip side, it was him
that allowed the pass through that set up the chance but he made up for it
nonetheless. Unlike Friday’s game though, there was no scoring in the frame and
Montreal went into the third with a one goal lead.
It was also in the middle stanza that the Habs learned that their goal of
coming out of the night fully healthy would not be coming to fruition. P-A
Parenteau blocked a shot awkwardly in the first but stayed in the game at the
time. During the second, the team announced that Parenteau was being shut down
for the night with a lower body injury. He played one shift for 1:22 in the
period but that was it.
The penalty kill failed the Canadiens in the final frame. Mika Zibanejad
tied the game up after walking into a hard slapper with the man advantage while
David Legwand made Montreal pay for a puck over glass penalty; Legwand needed
just eight seconds on the powerplay to beat Price for the winner. Curtis Lazar,
one of the candidates vying for a spot on Ottawa’s roster, added an empty netter
to seal the victory.
Price made 25 saves in the loss while Anderson made 26 stops; both teams had
an equal 28 shots on goal. As noted earlier, powerplay production proved to be
the difference with Ottawa going 2 for 4 while Montreal went 1 for 5.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Andrei Markov – He was very active in the offence and
showed that he is getting more and more comfortable playing with his new
partner, Tom Gilbert. Markov also looked good when paired with Subban
which is a big positive heading into the season. He’s ready for the puck
to drop on meaningful games.
Statline: 1 goal, even rating, 3 shots (9 attempts), 2 hits, 24:37 TOI
2nd Star: P.K. Subban – He had a fantastic first period where
he played a large role in Montreal’s two goals. After that he was a bit
quieter but still played a quality game. He seems to get rattled a bit
playing against the Sens for some reason as he engages in a lot of ‘extracurriculars’
compared to when he plays other opponents. That’s something he’ll likely
want to work on.
Statline: 2 assists, even rating, 3 shots, 2 blocks, 21:59 TOI
3rd Star: Jiri Sekac – Good things happened when he was on the
ice (which wasn’t all that often the first two periods). He was involved
in some good chances in the early going and make a lot of smart but subtle
plays. He also didn’t look out of place when he was teamed up with Max
Pacioretty and David Desharnais. He has earned a spot for sure on the
Statline: 0 points, even rating, 3 shots, 13:51 TOI
Honourable Mention: The powerplay – While the Habs only scored
once with the man advantage, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Several of
their powerplays saw very strong puck movement with efforts to get the puck
close to the net instead of just to Subban for the one-timer. They weren’t
rewarded enough for their efforts in this one.
Following the game, the team announced that defenceman Darren Dietz and winger Christian Thomas were cut and assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Neither will play in Hamilton’s preseason finale on Sunday afternoon against St. John’s.