On Friday night, the Canadiens got two quick goals in the second period and were able to hang on for a 2-1 win, their fourth win in a row to get back to a .500 record. The Habs started the game well and had the majority of the scoring chances, playing another perfect road game, but had to hold on as the Senators made a late game surge.
Although the Canadiens returned from a 6-day layoff, they seemed the sharper team in the first period, as was evident in their 12-4 shot lead. They controlled the play in every aspect and were able to kill a penalty from the leagues best powerplay. All the shots and chances were for not though as both teams were unable to score in the opening frame.
The second period was much more even as both teams shared numerous scoring chances. Andrei Kostitsyn had an early chance when he was sent in all alone but his shot was saved by Craig Anderson. Ottawa had their best chance when Stephane Da Costa made a nice play at the blue line to get by a couple Habs and feed Nick Foligno on the hashmarks but his shot was saved by Carey Price. The stalemate was finally broken when Mike Cammalleri made a nice play to force a turnover in the offensive zone and fed Erik Cole who beat Anderson for his third of the season. The Canadiens then doubled their lead just three minutes later when Kostitsyn forced a turnover from Erik Karlsson behind the net, his pass went directly to Lars Eller who fed Kostitsyn alone in front and he promptly buried it.
With a couple late penalties in the second period, the third period started with some play 4-on-4. The Canadiens got a short powerplay as their penalty expired but it was the Senators who were able to capitalize after the Canadiens failed to get the put deep. Erik Condra skated the puck up the ice and fed Zack Smith in front of the net who scored to continue the trend of Ottawa third period goals. Midway through the period Eller had a glorious chance as he was left all alone in front of the net but he lost control of the puck and was unable to get a shot. The Canadiens started to sit back as the period progressed to protect the one-goal lead and relied on Carey Price to make some outstanding saves. Even with Josh Gorges taking a late penalty the Canadiens were able to blank to potent Ottawa powerplay and preserve the lead.
After finishing October on the right foot with three straight wins, the Canadiens were forced to sit idle for a long stretch but they started the month on November where they left off by winning against a team that has be hot in recent weeks. A key stat in the match was Montreal’s penalty kill as Ottawa entered the game with the league’s best powerplay but were unable to score on four opportunities.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Carey Price (33 saves, .971 SV%)
He didn’t have much to do in the first period but as the game progressed he was forced to make some key saves and ended the game as the impenetrable wall we’ve become used to. It seems like driving the net and bumping Price was an Ottawa strategy but he maintained his composure and captured his 5th win of the season.
2nd Star: Erik Cole (1 goal, 3 shots, 3 hits, 13:07 TOI)
He may only have played 13:07 of ice time – only the 4th line players had less – but he made the most of it by having an impact on almost every shift. He carried the puck up the ice and drove the net on numerous occasions and caused havoc for the Ottawa defense all night. He looks to be settling in with his teammates and is becoming the player all the fans thought he could be.
3rd Star: Andrei Kostitsyn (1 goal, +1 rating, 4 shots, 2 hits, 14:29 TOI)
Andrei seems to have a habit of going AWOL at times in games but he made a few brief appearances tonight. He back-checked on a couple of occasions to break up plays but it was his forecheck that was the factor tonight. His pressure on Karlsson behind the Ottawa net the forced the turnover that lead to his game-winning goal. He may not be a complete player but he shows enough glimpses of a good player to keep the Habs fans always wanting more.