Rabid Habs

The Recap: Game 71 – Habs vs Sens

GameRecaps

You can follow A.J. Bassett’s live blog live during every Montreal Canadiens game at Habs Game Blog.

Montreal 4, Ottawa 3 (SO)

FIRST PERIOD

– So Anderson is a late day start, apparently indicating at the last minute that he felt game ready. We’ll soon see if that was a wise decision.

– A brisk pace to start the game, which feels as close to a playoff game as we’ve had all season. Habs seem to be doing a slightly better job getting the puck into the Ottawa zone, but these are early times.

– Still early to draw conclusions, but Habs defence looks markedly improved tonight. Gosh. Wonder why that could be?

– Jordie Benn just made an excellent backcheck on (guess who?!) Pageau on a breakaway. From supposed #6 plug to arguably 2nd line defender. A tremendous pickup by Bergevin at the trade deadline.

– Anderson looks … hmmm … not quite right? Got totally faked out by the play behind his net, Bryon really should have scored bringing the puck in front, as Anderson was looking the other direction.

– Tomas Plekanec still has the speed and ability to be an NHL forward, but that shot – it’s pretty atrocious. The velocity is so low, it pretty much doesn’t matter where he shoots the puck, it’s going to be stopped by an NHL goaltender. Plekanec’s short fallings are really going to hamstring this hockey team (he’s owed $6 million next season) unless Marc Bergevin can find another team willing to take him off Montreal’s hands.

– Habs the better team, as Pacioretty makes great passing play to spring Radulov all alone on Anderson. Radulov gets too cute, and Anderson makes a relatively easy save.

– Game had fast pace, Habs generating far more high percentage scoring opportunities in that first period, owning more puck possession, and doing a better overall job of setting the tempo. Canadiens also better on the forecheck, the Sens defence, in particular their third line pairing of Wideman and Borowiecki who frequently looked overmatched. Good first road period for Montreal.

SECOND PERIOD

– Habs soundly outplaying and out chancing the Sens in that 1st period. Just keep doing that, boys, and all should be fine. 5v5 CF: 57.8%

– Steve Ott a hot mess on the Sens early period powerplay, which begs the question, just what is Ott’s purpose on this hockey team? Because I’ll be dammed if I can see a net benefit.

– Habs aggressive push into the Sens zone finally pays off, as Danault makes a nice feed to Shaw who’s left with a slam dunk shot to give the Habs a 1-0 lead. Key for the Canadiens to score first, since it rewards their dominative play in this game (so far).

– Horrible tripping call on Danault, made by an official who simply can’t make that call. Not at the NHL level.

– Sens convert, of course. Mitchell and Plekanec kind of screw up the play by both chasing the puck just outside the blue line, which springs Brassard in unchecked. Tie game.

– Hoo boy, Price can’t cover the puck by the post, and Dzingel jams it home. Sens get bottom line scoring support, something the Habs continue to lack.

– It’s classic Plekanec. Habs enter Sens zone set up pretty well, four afoot against 3 Sens defenders. Plekanec takes the puck, and instead of dishing it somewhere for a shot attempt, he flips the puck into Anderson’s glove for a whistle. We’ve seen that play dozens of times this season, it’s infuriating, and it’s why Tomas Plekanec needs to no longer be a member of the Montreal Canadiens after this season.

– Habs got that first goal, but they’re still not doing a good job converting opportunities, still needing someone to breakout and take the game by the throat. Sens, meanwhile, even though outplayed, convert, their second goal probably one that shouldn’t have gone in. It doesn’t matter though, when the margins are thin, your wins and losses depend on players (or a single player) rising to the occasion, or your goaltending carrying the day. Habs didn’t have in the 2nd period.

THIRD PERIOD

– Habs the better team after 40 minutes, which underlines our criticism this team continues to struggle finishing its opportunities. Sens have the lead because of the bad tripping call on Danault, and iffy second goal that Price probably should have kept out. 52.1% SA CF (5v5) through 2 periods:


– Habs powerplay really struggling – no speed being generated through centre, passing is off, plays are all broken. Almost zero threat to score at the moment.

– After powerplay expires, Lehkonen and Shaw do a nice job keeping the puck in the Ottawa zone, Danault picking up a loose puck from a Lehkonen shot to tie the game. All very ironic, given how poorly played their man advantage was.

– Hey now, Gallagher with a spin around goal from a bad angle that Anderson simply can’t let in, and in the matter of seconds, the Habs take the lead. Two factors at play – the Habs haven’t relented pushing the play much like they did through the 1st period, and second, Anderson, as we noted earlier in the night, doesn’t look 100%. Certainly not on that shot.

– Julien sends out Ott/4th line, and in an instant, the Sens swarm Montreal in their own zone. Claude, if you’re listening, just stop doing that. Okay? 10 minutes left.

– Not a good night for the refs, Petry called for … being a defensemen? Who knows. Gives Sens an unjust powerplay. Betcha they score.

– Habs playing too much like the old Habs, playing far too conservatively, chipping the puck instead of effectively moving the play forward. Lots of defensive zone face-offs, and the Sens finally capitalize, Karlsson with seeing-eye wrister that ties the game. Now the Habs have to shift into another mode if they want to escape with 2 points.

– Tremendous shift by the Danault line, Habs have all the momentum now, 2 minutes left.

– Overtime, disappointing conclusion. Turning point was the bogus hooking call on Petry, which while Ottawa didn’t score on, gave them the needed momentum to find the tying goal. Officiating unacceptably poor tonight.

OVERTIME

– Julien starts Plekanec, which is kind of baffling.

– Caution OT – both teams not wanting to make a mistake.

– Pacioretty nailed for a hold, Habs being way too casual with the puck in OT, and it’s likely to cost them the game because of it.

– So, hope for a shootout? That’s all we’ve got.

– Senators with an abysmal 4-on-3 powerplay, very slow with the puck, the passing was slightly faster than a snail. Helps Habs to get to that shootout.

– Ryan hits the post, Julien sends out Byron. Hmmm …

– Okay, no questions Claude. Byron converts for his hometown crowd.

– Price makes save on second attempt.

– Radulov buries top corner, and Habs get the extra point.

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