The Montreal Canadiens once again faced off against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre in game two of their two-game set. The Habs were looking for revenge and looking to get back to the way they were playing the first 10 games of the season.
Carey Price got the start in goal while Brett Kulak made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games as he took the place of Victor Mete. Artturi Lehkonen was a healthy scratch once again.
The Senators came out to a firing start and less than two minutes into the game, Drake Batherson got a great pass from Derek Stepan and went top shelf on Price for the early 1-0 lead.
It didn’t get better for the Habs as seven minutes later, Jesperi Kotkaniemi took a charging penalty when he drilled Erik Gudbranson into the boards and the Sens made them pay 90 seconds later when Brady Tkachuk beat Price five-hole as the puck trickled past him for a goal on the man advantage and a 2-0 lead.
The Habs got their first power play of the game almost two minutes later when Drake Batherson got called for interference. The Canadiens were 0-18 going into this opportunity and it once again wasn’t good enough as the Sens did a good job killing the penalty.
90 seconds later, Brady Tkachuk got into a scrap with Ben Chiarot after Chiarot dropped him to the ground and managed to send him to the dressing room with a bloody nose.
A couple of minutes later, Shea Weber scored his third goal of the season when he took a shot that went off Nikita Zaitsev’s stick and past Matt Murray to make it 2-1.
That goal seemed to give Montreal life and the momentum was slowly shifting to the Canadiens and they pushed heavily for the equalizer throwing everything at the net.
At the end of the first period, Josh Anderson got called for roughing as he hit Gudbranson after the buzzer so the Canadiens would start the second period a man down.
A minute into the period things got worse for Montreal as Weber was called for a double-minor when he high-sticked Tkachuk and went to the box to give the Sens a 5-on-3 for 59 seconds.
After killing the first two minutes, Ottawa pushed hard and put immense pressure on the power play and it finally paid off as Erik Brannstrom managed to beat Price five-hole to make it 3-1 for the Senators. It was Brannstrom’s first career NHL goal.
The Canadiens responded a minute later when Jonathan Drouin, who had missed the third period on Sunday night, took advantage of a turnover, went on a breakaway and beat Murray five-hole as well to make it 3-2.
Five minutes later, Weber made up for his penalty when he scored his second goal of the game with a blast from the point to tie the game at three and the game was starting to turn.
Montreal got one more opportunity on the man advantage when Thomas Chabot got called for hooking with two minutes left in the second period but they weren’t able to convert and both teams entered the second intermission tied at three.
Three minutes into the third, the Canadiens got another chance on the man advantage when Josh Norris got sent to the penalty box for hooking but they failed once again to convert without generating much.
Four minutes later Tyler Toffoli had the puck on a string and managed to get past Brannstrom and shot a great wrist shot that beat Murray short side to take a 4-3 lead, Montreal’s first of the game.
That advantage didn’t last long as literally two minutes later, Tkachuk beat Price with a soft shot that sneaked past his pad and into the net tie the game at four.
With one final push the Montreal Canadiens applied immense pressure and Brendan Gallagher managed to tip a shot from Chiarot at the point for a 5-4 lead with three seconds left on the clock. Since the goal came with under a minute to go, it was automatically reviewed and Ottawa was hoping that the review would save them from a regulation loss. It was ruled that there was goaltender interference and the goal was called back.
The final siren went and the game once again went into overtime and the Habs this time were hoping for a different fate. Once again, we were treated to another exciting three-on-three overtime period that had it all.
Both goalies were keeping their teams in the game as 1:50 into the extra period, Price absolutely robbed Tim Stutzle and two minutes later Toffoli found himself on a breakaway but Murray said no, sticking out his pad to make the save. Despite several chances, neither team scored, sending things to a shootout.
In the shootout, Stutzle and Norris both scored while Murray made good saves on Corey Perry and Drouin as the Sens took the extra point in a 5-4 win.
That win meant the Habs were officially swept by the Sens in their two-game set and will now travel to Manitoba to take on the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season starting on Thursday night at the Bell MTS Centre.
HabsWorld Habs 3 Stars
(Submitted by Kevin Leveille0
1st Star – Carey Price
There’s no denying the terrible goal given up to Tkachuk after the Habs had gained their first lead of the game. These are the goals driving fans nuts so far this season. Having said that, Price was otherwise phenomenal on this night, making several highlight-reel stops as the Senators had the back-door play open all night. In a move that has to surprise just about no one at this point, the coaching staff never adapted to the Sens strategy and Price had to bail them out all night long. Heck, Stutzle even had his hands up thinking he’d scored in overtime on one Price cross-ice save.
Stats: 35 saves, 39 shots, .897 save %, 3.69 G.A.A., 65:00 T.O.I.
2nd Star – Tyler Toffoli
Toffoli had the puck dancing on his stick all night long. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before he pulled off a great move to get on the score sheet. With twelve minutes to play, he completely undressed Brannstrom to create an opening and wired home a missile for the Habs first lead of the night. He then got a breakaway and another good overtime chance. He was the Habs most dangerous forward with Anderson most of the night.
Stats: 1 goal, +2, 3 shots, 5 hits, 18:07 T.O.I.
3rd Star – Shea Weber
Captain Weber had struggled of late. I think it was finally said out loud. Weber, as per usual, was a complete pro about it, said more to the media than he usually does, and then went out and had a really quiet and effective game in his D zone that led to some puck luck to get on the score sheet. Most impressive here is that the coaching staff that everyone is criticizing for not making enough adjustments (myself included) actually did adjust as Weber’s TOI indicates, and it’s a significant adjustment as tonight made it clear that with a bit less ice-time, perhaps Weber can still be quietly effective.
Stats: 2 goals, +3, 4 shots, 4 hits, 22:03 T.O.I.
Honourable Mention – Phillip Danault
Was Anderson better than Danault on this night… yes, probably. But Danault had his best game in a while here as he was quietly effective defensively, making some dirty plays to allow his wingers to get some scoring chances, and being physically involved. His faceoff percentage was under 50% but it felt like he did quite well there when it mattered most. Definitely a game to build on for Danault.
Stats: 2 assists, +2, 1 shot, 3 hits, 15:58 T.O.I.