Rabid Habs

Heat Of The Moment

Habs team celly

“At the end of the day, I’m just worried about trying to feel as good as I can. Hopefully I’ll be able to play and contribute.” – Max Pacioretty

After a tough game against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday that left the Ducks with a two to one win, the Montreal Canadiens were ready to play their last game before the holidays at home against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Despite being the victim of a dangerous hit during Thursday night’s game and staying out of practise Friday, Max Pacioretty said that his injury was far worse than it looked, that he felt “really good,” and was ready for the Senators. Another victim of an upper-body injury, Lars Eller would be returning to active duty where he would center a line with David Desharnais and P.A. Parenteau. However, Eller back on the ice would mean coach Michel Therrien’s lines would be getting shuffled, the same lines that had been producing positive chemistry that won the Canadiens three consecutive wins. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are three-on-one since Paul MacLean, former head coach of the Senators, was relieved of his duties in early December. The Senators also saw a 6-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Things had been looking up for Ottawa, especially with five players registering two points in Friday night’s victory, and both Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson (the team’s top point-getters) have had seven goals and 16 assists since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. The Montreal Canadiens were going to have to create their own chemistry on the ice fast if they wanted to finish off their last home game right and have a taste of victory.

An unlucky giveaway by Sven Andrighetto gave Erik Condra the perfect opportunity to slip the puck past Carey Price at 17 minutes and 20 seconds (assisted by Dabid Legwand), which gave the Senators their first goal of the night and the first lead of the period. However, Brandon Prust’s razor sharp angle shot on the Senators net gave the game a quick tie up and the Canadiens their first goal of the night at 13 minutes and 22 seconds (assisted by Tom Gilbert and Jiri Sekac). Despite a strong effort from both sides of the ice, the Montreal Canadiens kept the second period tied until the clock ran out.

All of the pressure and hard work paid off for the Canadiens as Max Pacioretty’s game of tic-tac-toe with Alex Galchenyuk worked out well for Brendan Gallagher, who slipped one past Robin Lehner at 12 minutes and 30 seconds. The Ottawa Senators fought back hard but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Canadiens and the second period was left two to one with the Habs in the lead.

It was a rough third period as both the Senators and the Canadiens were after the puck in a race to see who could score a goal first. Luckily, the Canadiens had luck on their side and Tomas Plekanec (assisted by P.A. Parenteau and Andrei Markov) scored on the power play with 3 minutes and 10 seconds left of the game. If that weren’t enough, Alex Galchenyuk came in a minute later with a swift goal past Lehner (assisted by Alexei Emelin and Max Pacioretty). With only a minute and 59 seconds left, the Senators scrambled to try and at least get one more goal past Carey Price, but the Montreal Canadiens kept the pressure on until the clock ran out, leaving the Ottawa Senators with a one to four loss.

Here are my thoughts about last night’s game.

  • The Montreal Canadiens played one of the best comeback games of the season so far and they shattered the stereotype that they can only win when they score the first goal of the game. I was worried at first about Lars Eller coming back because of the fact that the lines would be changed, but the Habs showed that they can work their blue butts off and dominate a game when they need to. Four goals in one night isn’t always easy to do but Brandon Prust, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, and Alex Galchenyuk made it look incredibly easy last night.
  • Max Pacioretty is an offensive leader and without him, the Montreal Canadiens are lost and out of control. During the third period of Thursday night’s game when he sustained a nasty upper-body injury from Clayton Snyer and was taken out for the rest of the game, the Canadiens were scrambling. They had a tough time following each other and just couldn’t seem to get back on track. Every great team needs that one person to lead and keep everyone in order, and that’s who Pacioretty is. He’s a leader, and that’s why I am happy that he recovered fast enough to play last night’s game.

The Montreal Canadiens play their final game away from home before the holidays against the New York Islanders on Tuesday at 7:00pm.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures