Les Glorieux wrapped up the preseason with a 5-4 shootout loss to the Senators at home on Thursday night. The team’s 2-3-1 exhibition record is not terrible but that record honestly hides some terrible hockey in those six games.
The following Habs’ lineup was announced for the game:
Toffoli – Suzuki – Caufield
Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson
Armia – Evans – Gallagher
Belzile – Poehling – Ylonen
Romanov – Petry
Chiarot – Savard
Kulak – Wideman
However, Jonathan Drouin was ultimately unable to play and was dropped from the lineup so Artturi Lehkonen was inserted into the lineup.
Things got off to a fast start as the Habs won the opening faceoff. Alexander Romanov quickly fed the puck up to Lehkonen, who got jammed up by the Senators defence, but was able to feed a seeing-eye pass to the speeding Josh Anderson, who lifted the puck up and just below the crossbar, beating a shocked Anton Forsberg, just ten seconds into the game.
Three minutes later the Habs got their first man advantage, with Jake Allen out of the net on a delayed Ottawa penalty. The setup was working well, far better than in most of the pre-season games, and Tyler Toffoli found Jeff Petry with a nice pass to the left-side hash marks. The Habs’ top defender showed off his scoring ability as he made no mistake in one-timing the puck and putting it behind Forsberg.
The Canadiens’ penalty troubles were just about to start, though, as David Savard was called for hooking just before the seven-minute mark. Josh Norris made the Habs pay for that with a power play marker at 8:04 of the first.
At the end of a fairly even period, Christian Dvorak got a call for holding with just 14 seconds left on the clock — not enough for Ottawa to mount a serious attack.
Once the second period got underway, though, the pressure was one. The penalty kill group managed to kill off the penalty, but just one second later, as Dvorak was stepping out of the penalty box, Shane Pinto connected on a post-PP shot that brought the Sens within one goal.
The second period was far uglier than the first, with the Habs taking weak penalties and the Senators pressing accordingly. Three goals on 15 shots was the Sens’ tally for the period but when one considers that the Habs were were called for ten minutes worth of minor penalties in the period — plus two more as the clock ran out — Allen can hardly be blamed for the carnage.
In addition to the Pinto marker, Norris scored another power play goal at 4:24 with Savard in the box for the second time. The Canadiens did survive a five-on-three stretch, though: with Ryan Poehling having taken a double minor for high-sticking Andrew Agozzino, the Habs’ penalty kill units had killed more than three of the four minutes, when Joel Armia’s clearing shot cleared the glass and he got called for delay of game.
As the teams skated onto the ice for the final period, it looked grim for the Habs as the Senators were outshooting them 23-13 and outscoring them 4-2, and they started the third on a penalty kill yet again, Toffoli having been called for tripping Alex Formenton at the end of the second.
The penalty kill units killed off yet another penalty, though, and Ottawa immediately granted the Habs an opportunity to try for a power play marker of their own, as Brett Kulak drew a holding call against Drake Batherson. It was another goal from a faceoff win, as Nick Suzuki drew back the puck to Cole Caufield, who quickly found Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher took a shot on net, and Suzuki, who had parked himself in front of Forsberg immediately after taking the faceoff, deflected the shot to bring the Habs within one.
Still, that tying goal was nowhere to be found until the Ducharme pulled Allen for an extra attacker and a six-on-five advantage. As with the second goal, it was again Toffoli finding Petry, though further out this time, and the veteran defenceman took a hard shot that found its way through traffic and into the back of the net to tie the game at four.
The overtime stretch was uneventful, with only three shots taken between the two teams. Caufield had a chance at an OT marker, but was taken down just before shooting — no penalty was called. Drake Batherson was called for hooking on Dvorak but there were fewer than five seconds left on the clock, so things went into the shootout.
Allen saved the first three Ottawa shots, but then Suzuki, Caufield and Dvorak also failed to score on Forsberg. Armia was the first shooter to be able to get the puck across the line, with a top-shelf marker. However, the next two Sens shooters did score, and Toffoli did not, handing the SO win to the Senators.
HW Habs 3 Stars
First Star: Jeff Petry (2g, 0a, +1, 2 shots, 2 hits, 4 blocks) has found his groove and is doing exactly what they need Petry to do. Solid on defence and a commanding presence in the offensive zone, this is the Petry that we have been waiting for in the preseason.
Second Star: Nick Suzuki (1g, 1a, -1, 19:01 TOI) put the puck in the net when it mattered, and won his faceoffs when those did. His faceoff percentage was a respectable 54% but an important offensive-zone faceoff win led to his goal.
Third Star: Josh Anderson (1g, 0a, +3, 1 shot, 4 hits, 12:04 TOI) picked up Lehkonen’s pass and drove for the net on the game-opening play and found the back of the net. A play worthy of the “powerhorse” name, and he played a safe game with only a single opposing scoring chance given up.
Honourable Mention: Joel Armia (0g, 0a, +0, 2 shots, 2 hits, 13:42 TOI) may have scored only the shootout marker, but the big Finn played both the power play and penalty kill and at 5-on-5, he did not give up a single scoring chance against — and recorded eight chances for.