Rabid Habs

Canadiens vs. Senators: Game #4

Habs' Alexei Emelin

“We’re confident and loose in here, but we know how important this game is. When you have a team facing elimination, it’s the hardest one to win – we learned that last year. We wanted to close out Tampa last year and we want to get it done again tonight.” – Dale Weise

The Ottawa Senators face elimination from round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night, as the Montreal Canadiens hold a three game lead over the Senators. During Sunday’s match up at the Canadian Tire Centre, the Habs beat the Senators two to one in overtime, with Dale Weise scoring both the late third period goal and the overtime winner. While defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is out with an upper-body injury and Greg Pateryn will be taking his place on the ice, no small line up change will be getting in the way of the Canadiens trying to grab a playoff sweep. If there’s one area for concern for the Canadiens going into tonight’s game, it’s the powerplay which has gone 1/13 in the series with the only powerplay goal coming from Max Pacioretty in game two. On the other side of the ice, the Senators have decided to keep Craig Anderson, who made 47 saves on Sunday night during his first start of the postseason, between the pipes while Zack Smith will take David Legwand’s spot centering the fourth line. Being down three to nothing is a first for Ottawa, considering how 2013 panned out for them against Montreal. Nevertheless, the Senators’ have displayed the ability to make good use of the “one game at a time” mentality and while that may give them a strong chance at their one and only win, there’s no doubt that the Canadiens will play one of their best games of the season tonight and possibly say “Adiós” to Ottawa.

Despite the first period ending scoreless, the Habs had a great start early in the game, getting three shots on net and holding a six to nothing lead in shots by the five minute mark. The Senators’ pressure didn’t last long as Mark Borowiecki gave the Habs an opportunity on the power play to find the back of the net. Unfortunately, nothing much came out of the power play and Ottawa easily killed it off. Nevertheless, the Habs were able to at least keep their shot attempt numbers going up but would really need to start having the numbers climb in possession in the second period.

Montreal ended the scoreless second period leading 21 to 20 in shots. However, the Senators were the ones who dominated the period overall. While Ottawa got shut down on the power play, they still managed to grab five shot attempts right at the beginning before the Habs had a chance to put the puck in Craig Anderson’s glove. As time passed, both teams were having trouble finding any open space to make a run with the puck and while the Canadiens got a chance on the power play to set up a good attack, the power play ended up a bust.

With ten minutes and 55 seconds left of the third period, Mike Hoffman (assisted by Cody Ceci) helped the Senators grab their first goal of the night and take the lead. Despite the Canadiens struggling to have a late period tie, Ottawa took the lead until the clocks ran out.

The Montreal Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday at 7:00pm.

(Purchase your Canadiens tickets here. | Achetez vos billets des Canadiens ici.)

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.