Ringing the Bell
Ringing the Bell(2012-03-23 23:01 posted by Casey Wells)

The Montreal Canadiens saved their best for last as they brought it all to the Bell Centre for a Friday night fight night that saw the home team win 5-1.  Erik Cole got the ball rolling by scoring within the first thirty seconds of the game to give Montreal an early lead. In an effort to change the momentum Zenon Konopka took on a willing Brad Staubitz in a brawl that would set the tone for a scrum filled game. Shortly after the fight, Cole put in his second of the game by managing to get behind the Ottawa defense and goaltender Craig Anderson to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead. Senators Coach Paul MacLean decided that it was time for a change and put in the recently acquired Ben Bishop for the remainder of the first. The change in tenders made little difference, as Cole reached 30 goals in style, completing a natural hat trick for the 7th time in his career before the 6 minute mark of the period.  That gave him the franchise record for the fastest hat trick to start a game.  Late in the frame, on a 2 on 1, former first rounder Petteri Nokelainen wristed one by Bishop; Jason Spezza got that one back in the dying seconds of the period, burying one over Carey Price.  As the period ended, Ryan White and Chris Neil had a scrap that ultimately saw Neil along with Nick Foligno and P.K. Subban get misconducts.

Anderson was given back the reins of the crease to start the second in this, his first game back from injury. With a little over 3 minutes gone, Daniel Alfredsson tipped the puck in past Price with a high stick. The goal was instantly waved off on the ice and a video review proved to be inconclusive. The Senators started to look more like the playoff bound team later in the second, as they started to battle along the boards and began taking the pucks to the net. On injury watch, it appeared that Yannick Weber took Alfredsson into the boards and went down awkwardly on his left knee, he left the game and did not return. Quite a few scrums continued to break out after most whistles in this one. Kyle Turris received a bloody nose during a late second period fracas. Every player on Montreal worked to get under the Senators skin. Cole even fired a late shot after the second period buzzer to get the Senators up in arms.

Lars Eller continued a strong sophomore year firing in his 17th of the season in the 3rd period by bouncing it off the skate of Sergei Gonchar that went quickly to the back of the net and out. Later, Michael Blunden laid out Erik Karlsson against the boards in a legal hit to which Neil took exception and immediately went after Blunden. The result was a misconduct for Neil and White who stepped in to defend his teammate. Things quieted down at the end of the third and Montreal played out the game to the bell and skated to a 5-1 win. Price was great all game and stopped 37 shots in a game that with the right bounces, could have gone the other way.

Habs Hits

Rene Bourque came to Montreal a minus 3 and is now a minus 20.
Mak Pacioretty and Erik Cole are the last two American teammates to reach the 30-goal plateau since Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez did it in New Jersey.
Josh Gorges is currently the league leader for shots blocked.
Jason Spezza played his 600th career game.

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