The Ottawa Senators staved off elimination, sneaking by the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 4 on Wednesday night. Nathan Beaulieu will be absent for the rest of the series with an upper body injury so Greg Pateryn stepped in for him, making his NHL postseason debut. For Ottawa, Zack Smith got the nod over David Legwand and Craig Anderson got the start ahead of Andrew Hammond.
Montreal began strong, getting the first six shots on goal and an early power play, which probably killed their momentum with its impotence. Ottawa woke up in the second half of the period and the game opened up in the last six minutes, with multiple chances at each end of the rink. Montreal went back on the power play with less than two minutes to play but the period ended deadlocked 0-0. Shots favoured Montreal 11-9.
After killing off the remnants of Montreal’s power play to start the second, Ottawa stepped on the gas, pressuring the Canadiens and drawing tough saves out of Carey Price. The Senators got an early man advantage out of it, which Montreal killed off thanks to some heroics by Price. Montreal went on their third power play of the game near the midway point of the period on a very rare faceoff violation call but could not find a goal, despite being reasonably threatening. Ottawa got a chance of their own on the man advantage with five minutes to play.
Brandon Prust had a shorthanded breakaway, but Anderson made the stretch save. At the other end, Price was called upon to make a few big stops as they killed off the disadvantage. The stalemate continued after 40 minutes with the Canadiens holding a slight 21-20 edge in shots.
Desperation seeped into Ottawa’s game right off the bat in the third period, immediately applying pressure in the offensive zone. Pateryn went off to the dressing room with an apparent hand injury five minutes into the period but did return. Ottawa continued to press and eventually it paid off with Mike Hoffman beating Price with a wrist shot from the top of the circle for a 1-0 lead with 10:55 to play with Tom Gilbert providing the perfect screen for the Sens.
The Senators continued to pepper Price, who remained the sole reason this game was 1-0 as the minutes ticked off the clock. There wasn’t much desperation coming out of Montreal’s side as they failed to generate any real scoring opportunities in the later stages of the game. The Canadiens pulled Price with 30 seconds to go but Ottawa was never really in trouble. It ended 1-0 Ottawa, forcing Game 5 in Montreal on Friday night.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – Carey Price
Price was the only reason the Canadiens had any business being in this game. Analysts have been saying he hasn’t had to make the huge saves this series; he did tonight, albeit in a losing cause.
31 saves on 32 shots – 1.01 GAA – .969 save percentage
2nd Star – David Desharnais
He’s been playing at a great level in these playoffs, with his work down low in the offensive zone and around the net of particular significance. I thought he was one of the better forwards during the night.
0 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 2 shots – 2 hits – 0 takeaways – 16:37 TOI
3rd Star – Dale Weise
The man of the hour had a solid showing and was committed to a physical game with some chances on offence. He put in the kind of work rate expected of him.
0 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 2 shots – 6 hits – 0 takeaways – 14:38 TOI
Honourable Mention – Brendan Gallagher
Eternally committed to driving the other team insane, he put in another good game, with the offensive upside lacking. He never stops, doesn’t take a shift off and should be rewarded in this series if he keeps it up.
0 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 2 shots –1 hit – 1 takeaway – 20:58 TOI
Stat of the Night
1. Montreal needs to get it together on the power play. It’s not even that they’ve only scored once (though that is actually true) but the way it sucks out any momentum they’ve built prior to going on the man advantage is equally damaging. They need to sort it out or find a loophole to decline the advantage.
Game 5 is Friday at 7 p.m. EDT at the Bell Centre.