What was hyped as a potentially violent Game 2 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators was certainly physical, but in essence a clean, drama free 3-2 overtime victory for the Canadiens.
The ‘will Mark Stone play and how much mustard will he have on his shot’ debate raged on to right before puck drop and was finally answered; Stone would play. P.A. Parenteau was out with an upper-body injury, while Max Pacioretty suited up after missing the last four games with an unconfirmed concussion.
Montreal started hot, generating some good chances in the first minute. Both teams traded power plays, with neither finding a goal, despite Montreal having several excellent chances. A Dale Weise hooking penalty in the second half of the period led to some heroics by Carey Price to keep the score even. There was not much between the teams until Clarke MacArthur ripped a wrist shot past Price near the end of the frame. The Senators led 1-0 after 20 minutes with shots favouring the visitors 14-10.
The Canadiens came out streaking again in the second, nearly beating Andrew Hammond right off the bat after he botched a routine long shot. A dominant stretch for the Canadiens was rewarded with a power play and following excellent pressure, Pacioretty slipped one past Hammond to tie it up 1-1. The dominance continued, leading to another Montreal power play but they couldn’t beat Hammond. Then, out of seemingly nothing, P.K. Subban unleashed a howitzer from the top of the faceoff circle past Hammond as Montreal grabbed a 2-1 lead with less than four minutes to play. Despite a scare at the end, Montreal headed to the third period leading 2-1 and outshooting Ottawa 24-17.
Ottawa started off the third period on the wrong foot, taking a very early penalty. Montreal could not capitalize despite again creating some great scoring chances. Moments later, Ottawa took another penalty but the Senators killed it off. The frame was a back and forth affair until Alexei Emelin got called for interference with a little over eight minutes to play. Ottawa made them pay as Patrick Wiercioch beat Price in tight. There were many anxious moments on both ends as the game died down. Marc Methot was called for holding with 1:17 to play. No dice on ending it in regulation though; Montreal would start overtime with a short power play.
Keeping the trend alive, Montreal started off with a scoring chance during the early moments of their power play, but the Senators finished off the penalty kill. It didn’t take long for Montreal to find victory through Alex Galchenyuk on a rebound from a Brendan Gallagher shot early in overtime for the 3-2 win and a key 2-0 series lead.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – P.K. Subban
Subban didn’t have much influence in the early going but grew as the game did, scoring on an absolute bomb in the second period. The more important it got, the more he stepped up. Add in the incessant spotlight over the slashing incident as extra – he kept his cool.
1 goal – 0 assists – +1 rating – 5 shots – 2 hits – 0 takeaways – 29:06 TOI
2nd Star – Devante Smith-Pelly
A really stellar game for the youngster who had struggled mightily since joining the Canadiens in that Jiri Sekac trade. He was physical throughout the game and was unfortunate to not find the back of the net on a few occasions.
0 goals – 1 assist – +1 rating – 6 shots – 3 hit – 2 takeaways – 18:35 TOI
3rd Star – Carey Price
A few bad bounces that went unpunished and a few incredible saves summed up Price’s night. He slowed down the play when needed, made big saves when needed, and was a calming presence through a few Ottawa flurries.
29 saves on 31 shots – 1.89 GAA – .935 save percentage
Honourable Mention – Alex Galchenyuk
This could’ve gone to Lars Eller, Max Pacioretty or David Desharnais, who all had very solid outings. But the game winner needs to be somewhere on this list and despite having what seemed like a quiet game, Galchenyuk found a way to ice the pesky Senators. His stats show he silently contributed more than a GWG.
1 goal -0 assists – +1 rating – 4 shots –3 hits – 1 takeaway – 18:27 TOI
Stat of the Night
83. While Ottawa has 95 hits through two games, the 83 hits Montreal has thrown back during those two games shows this isn’t a fast team that will rollover and take their lumps.
Game 3 will go Sunday night at 7 p.m. EDT in Ottawa.