The Canadiens edged the Ottawa Senators 2-1 Sunday for their fifth win in a row on home ice. Erik Cole scored what proved to be the game winner at 11.29 of the first period, three seconds after a penalty to the Senators Daniel Alfredsson had expired. The Senators took a 1-0 lead in the second minute on a power play goal by Jakob Silfverberg. David Desharnais tied the game 35-seconds later. The win vaulted the Canadiens over Ottawa into second place in the Northeast division, one point behind the Bruins, who lead the division and the Eastern Conference with 12 points. The Senators outshot the Canadiens 33-32. The three stars were Carey Price, David Desharnais and Erik Cole.
Thoughts at Random -
…..”Fantastique” - Michel Therrien’s word for the performance of Carey Price, the game’s first star. Price slammed the door on the Senators after the power play goal gave them the 1-0 lead. He stopped sixteen shots in the second period and another 13 in the third. In his two weekend games Price stopped 62 of 64 shots and lowered his goals against average to 1.70 while upping his save percentage to .938. He has allowed two goals or fewer in nine straight games vs. the Senators.
….Turnabout - The Senators scored the first goal of the game on a power play after Tomas Plekanec was ruled to have interfered with goaltender Craig Anderson. Early in the third period Price was beneficiary of the newly tightened rules when Andre Benoit’s screen shot got past him. The goal was disallowed because Jakob Silfverberg was ruled to have hindered Price on the play.
….Hello Max - Eight days after he went to hospital to have his appendix removed, Max Pacioretty was back at his usual spot alongside David Desharnais and Erik Cole. He assisted on the goal that tied the game and his ice time was 16:09. The line was the Canadiens best on the day. They were on the ice for both goals for the Canadiens.
…..Trench Warfare - When teams are grinding it out the way the Canadiens and Senators were on this day, Josh Gorges always stands out. When he was on the ice Gorges ruled his end of the ice. The seven blocked shots he recorded tells only part of the story of his game. Gorges leads the league with 29 blocked shots.
…..Chucky - No points for Galchenyuk but not for lack of trying. Two shots on goal and two glorious scoring chances. In the second period Craig Anderson came across to rob him of a goal on a rebound. In the third period Anderson made a terrific save on a Galchenyuk one-timer.
…..Back in Form - Erik Cole completed a very good weekend. He scored the winning goal when found himself in alone in front of the net and backhanded the pass from Francis Bouillon up and over Anderson. He also recorded a game-high six hits. The physical part of his game gave David Desharnais room to operate. Each member of the line was plus-2 on the day.
…..Statistics Lie – Alexei Emelin wound up plus-3 for the weekend which says little about the weekend he had. He struggled throuhg the game against Buffalo and had more problems against the Ottawa forecheck. He was the culprit on the Senator’s only goal and still wound up plus-1 on the day.
…..What Do You Have To Do? Lars Eller started the weekend on the Canadiens number one line and contributed with three points against the Sabres. With Pacioretty returning to the lineup, twenty four hours later he was down on the fourth line centring Colby Armstrong and Travis Moen. Another solid game from Eller in a different role.
……Missing in Action - P.K. Subban missed the first ten minutes of the third period causing a stir along press row. Turns out it was a broken skate blade. He was back on the ice trying the new blade during a commercial break at 10:05.
……Team Sport - Not enough can be said about the total effort by this version of the Canadiens. They were playing their second tough game in 24 hours against a rested opponent. Their early success can be summed up in two words – hard work.