With a 2-0-1 record against formidable opponents (Oilers, Avalanche, Devils) since a bad night against the Sharks, the Habs walked into the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa to face the struggling Senators with a perception to shatter. Could they not play up or down according to the opposition? The Canadiens were a whopping 15 points ahead of a team many had predicted would make the playoffs this season. Instead, they continued a frustrating trend this season as they were a complete no-show on Thursday night as they got buried 6-2 by the Senators.
Cole Caufield — Nick Suzuki — Juraj Slafkovsky
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard – Jake Evans — Brendan Gallagher
Joshua Roy – Sean Monahan – Joel Armia
Michael Pezzetta — Mitchell Stephens — Jesse Ylonen
Kaiden Guhle — Mike Matheson
Jayden Struble – David Savard
Jordan Harris – Justin Barron
1) After a strong two shifts to start the game, Montreal’s game went south and fast. The Senators took full advantage as shots went from 2-0 Habs after five minutes to 15-2 for Ottawa with five minutes to play in the period. They ended 17-6 so the Habs were slightly better in the final five minutes.
2) Ottawa’s two goals weren’t great either as both pucks beat Primeau low on the blocker side. The first was a spectacular shift as Brady Tkachuk delivered a booming hit on Matheson before the Habs broke out and Monahan hit the crossbar. The puck came back to Tkachuk who skated in and simply beat Primeau. The second was Caufield and Savard getting caught cheating offensively which allowed a 2-on-1 as Tim Stutzle beat Primeau.
3) Montreal’s goal came off the stick of Caufield, as surprising as that might sound. Monahan found him streaking in off the bench and Caufield riffled home a shot that went through Joonas Korpisalo who got a big chunk of the shot but it still beat him.
4) Pezzetta ended the period with an attempted hit on Zack MacEwen that was quite dangerous and could have taken out the Sens’ player’s knee. The hit missed, but a fight ensued. It was the fight Pezzetta was looking for all period long. He got it and won it.
5) Another crappy period was the second for the Habs who could not get momentum despite scoring the last goal or winning the fight. Really, there were just about no positives in the first ten minutes of the period. By the end of the period, the Senators were able to extend the lead to 4-1 despite Ottawa getting the only two penalties of the period.
6) The first Ottawa goal in the middle frame came from absolutely terrible rebound control on a point shot that Primeau should have handled easily. Instead, he sent the rebound against his body to the slot where it was put home by Rourke Chartier. Next was a three-on-two that Vladimir Tarasenko scored on from far.
7) Ottawa actually scored a third goal in the period, this time a shorthanded one by Claude Giroux on a give-and-go with Artem Zub. However, that one came back as goaltender interference from Parker Kelly was obvious even if neither Primeau nor the Canadiens deserved the break.
8) The Habs wanted to get back in the game to start the third period with a minute of carryover power play time, but they really got nothing going (again) and the Senators once again asserted dominance for this game. With the game well out of hand, Pezzetta saved Montreal’s third with a rocket of a shot that made it 6-2.
9) Ottawa extended its lead as Savard did his best pylon impression as Stutzle completely turned him around before finding Mathieu Joseph who put home a fifth goal on the night. The Habs pulled Primeau with 8:27 to play, but that resulted in the empty net goal from Kelly soon after.
10) I argued last game that Primeau looked off for the first two periods before he came on strong in the third and overtime. He made everything look difficult on this night and the early goals that got by him were not the best he’s given up this season. Rough couple of games for the third string as the lack of starts appears to be catching up with the young netminder.
HabsWorld Habs 3 Stars
1st Star – Cole Caufield
Caufield got caught cheating offensively on a Senators goal, but in the first half of the game, he was just about the only Hab that looked dangerous.
Stats: 1 goal, -1, 1 hit, 4 shots, 18:17 T.O.I.
2nd Star – Sean Monahan
Monahan was at his very best last night and he started strong in this one too. The veteran took his foot off the accelerator once the game got out of hand, but he’s looked faster in the last two games.
Stats: 1 assist, -1, 18:53 T.O.I.
3rd Star – Michael Pezzetta
The fourth line player got a fight and a goal as he was an assist away from the Gordie Howe hat trick. In a game that had very few positives, Pezzetta never quit.
Stats: 1 goal, even, 3 hits, 1 shot, 8:47 T.O.I.