The Montreal Canadiens were in Ottawa on Saturday night to take on the Senators in the final game before the trade deadline. Max Domi got off to a quick start, collecting two first period goals. The Habs didn’t look back from there and picked up a nice 3-0 win.
With Victor Mete and Xavier Ouellet still out, Karl Alzner was called up from Laval to play on the third pairing with Christian Folin. After his questionable absence from the lineup on Thursday, Artturi Lehkonen was back in with Nate Thompson and Nick Cousins.
The game got off to a great start and the Habs had the lead just over a minute in. After forcing a turnover at the Ottawa blue line, Paul Byron found Domi alone down low. Domi took the pass, and slid around Craig Anderson and his diving poke check attempt and backhanded the puck into the open cage.
Nine minutes in, Brendan Gallagher hit Thomas Chabot hard and Chabot was down on the ice. He left and did not return. Brady Tkachuk came to the aid of his teammate and fought Gallagher.
Off the next faceoff the Canadiens set up in the offensive zone. Anderson tried to poke away a rebound from a point shot, however, he poked it right to Domi, who fired in his second of the period.
After the Canadiens continued to outplay the Sens, they got their first powerplay when Nick Suzuki was tripped by Jayce Hawryluk. The Habs got chances around the net but they were unable to extend their lead with the man advantage. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the best chance after intercepting a Jeff Petry pass but Price was up to the task.
Ottawa came out better to start the second period. They were putting pressure on the Habs early in the period and had a couple of close calls. The pressure didn’t last and Montreal started taking control back.
The Habs got their second power play chance of the game eight minutes in on a Mike Reilly hooking call. The Canadiens did not get many chances on the power play, but Ottawa did get one. Anthony Duclair was sent in on a partial breakaway and got a pretty good shot away. Price quickly flashed the leather to snag the shot. All the Habs fans that made the trip started a ‘Carey’ chant to show their appreciation for the great save.
An ongoing theme throughout the second period was the temper of Brady Tkachuk. Later in the period, he started a scramble in front of the Canadiens’ net. Price got an extra penalty on the play, giving the Sens their first power play. Luckily, the Habs prevented any damage on the penalty kill.
With two minutes left in the second frame, the Habs got another important insurance marker. Ilya Kovalchuk made a great forecheck and forced Nick Paul to turn the puck over. The turnover went directly to Byron in front, and he fired it home for a 3-0 lead.
Just before the period ended, Scott Sabourin jumped on Ben Chiarot and started a small fight. Once again, Tkachuk was yelling at any Habs player he could find. Each Hab appeared to have something to say back to him. A frustrated Tkachuk snapped his stick off the boards before storming off to the dressing room.
The third period was a clinic of defensive hockey from the Canadiens. The Habs were cruising along in the third period until Domi collided with Duclair and was called for interference.
The Habs had another very effective penalty kill and did not look back from there. The third period went on with the Habs continuing to have a very strong hold on their lead.
With two minutes left Tkachuk hit Nick Cousins hard into the boards, and the two exchanged a few shots. He then taunted the Montreal bench on his way to the dressing room but the Habs didn’t seem to care.
When all was said and done, Carey Price collected another shutout, and the Habs picked up the win by a 3-0 scoreline. The Habs and the city of Montreal now hold their breath until Monday at 3:00 pm EST to see what happens with regards to trades.
HabsWorld Habs Three Stars
First Star – Max Domi
Domi scored more goals tonight than he did in all of the previous games in 2020. He was flying and the two goals only gave him more momentum. He did leave a bit after the collision but came back after. Other than that collision it was a perfect night for Domi as he looks to get back on track.
Stats: 2G (GWG), +3, 3 SOG, 12:08 TOI
Second Star – Paul Byron
Unfortunately, it has mostly been a lost season for Byron with his early struggles and lengthy injury recovery. Tonight was the best that he looked in a long time. He was playing his trademark speedy style and gave the Ottawa defenders fits. He also saw some positive results on the scoresheet.
Stats: 1G, 1A, +3, 1 SOG, 5 hits, 12:32 TOI
Third Star – Carey Price
Price didn’t have his busiest night, but he was there every time he was called upon. Price was square to shooters all night and seemed to know what the shooter was going to do before he did. With Price playing like that, the Habs have a good chance to win every night.
Stats: win, shutout, 30 saves
Honourable Mention- Ilya Kovalchuk
Kovalchuk was the third member of the Habs’ best line tonight. His strong forecheck made Byron’s goal possible. Although his production has dipped a little bit, Kovalchuk continues to do many things right for the Habs to help win games
Stats: 1A, +3, 1 SOG, 1 hit, 15:58 TOI