The Ottawa Senators broken open a 1-1 game with five consecutive goals against Carey Price and the Canadiens to take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The game was marred by 236 minutes in penalties, 210 of them coming in a fight-filled third period that saw fourteen fighting majors and nine game misconducts handed out. Rookie Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored three goals for the Senators. Daniel Alfredsson, Kyle Turris and Jakob Silfverberg scored the others. Rene Bourque scored for the Canadiens. The three stars were Pageau, Alfredsson, who had a three point night, and Sergei Gonchar. Shots on goal were 34-30 in favour of the Canadiens. Game four, Tuesday night; again in Ottawa.
Adding It Up-
Out of Control – The Canadiens simply lost it. For a team that prides itself in team discipline, this game was a mess. The Ottawa game plan was clear; to soften the Canadiens up in the first period. Instead of shrugging it off and playing their game, the Habs were suckered into an alley fight.
Prime Target – P.K. Subban had the worst night of his career on almost every level. The Senators painted a target on his back and they didn’t miss it very often. In frustration he took three consecutive penalties early in the game. In the second period he was caught by television cameras yelling at teammate Max Pacioretty for giving him what he called a “suicide pass”. In the third period, he simply quit the game. He drew an instigator, fighting and game misconduct after he went after Kyle Turris.
Not Good Enough – The Canadiens defence was having an awful night under the forechecking pressure of the Senators, but Carey Price didn’t help matters. The game winning goal from Pageau was a great shot, but in the playoffs, teams are looking to get a save in that situation. He was late picking up the 3-1 goal when Tinordi cut across in front of his vision and the 4-1 goal came off a 3-on-1 break. At that point he should have been replaced. The last two were on power plays. Price has now given up 11 goals on 91 shots, an .879 save percentage.
They Lost It – The two easiest things to criticize in hockey are goaltenders and referees. I’m very careful in both departments. Officiating didn’t decide the outcome of this game, but the payback for failing to exercise early authority ultimately led to the third period mess. In the first five minutes referees failed to take note of the Ottawa game plan and gave them a pass on three blatant fouls. When Jared Cowen was penalized for roughing, it was promptly evened-up with a fringe slashing call on Max Pacioretty. Teams were quickly aware of way this game was going to be handled. But the ultimate game changer was the double tripping penalty at 4:23 of the third period. Rene Bourque was hauled down by Sergei Gonchar behind the Ottawa net. Rather than put the Senators short a man in a 3-1 hockey game, it was evened up by a phantom call on Bourque. At that point, the usually reliable Paul Devorski and Dan Halloran lost control of their game. Forty-one seconds after the co-incidental minors expired came the worst playoff line brawl I’ve seen in years. The final 12:54 of the game became an NHL black mark with fourteen fighting majors and nine game misconducts. Everyone shares in the blame for this, including those charged with keeping the game under control.
No Show – What has become of David Desharnais and Michael Ryder? For Desharnais, three games – no shots on goal. Ryder has a goal, a gimme in game two, but beyond that has been away from the action for the most part.
Dependable – Through all of the silliness, linemates Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta kept their emotions in check and consistently went about the business of trying to win the game. Late in the game, with the bench down to five players, Plekanec even took a couple of shifts on defence.
No Rest – Andrei Markov logged another 25 minutes. He was left flatfooted as Pageau broke up the middle, leaving Subban to try to catch up. Pageau scored while Subban was knocking out one of his teeth with a high stick. With defence partner P.K. Subban and Jarred Tinordi kicked out of the game, Markov was forced to play more than half of the third period (10:28) taking shifts in the final ten minutes with Gorges, Diaz and Plekanec as his partner.
Overheated – Where do you start with the players who lost their cool? Subban was the ultimate villain with 25 minutes in penalties, but there was no shortage of secondary offenders. Seven players logged ten minutes in penalty time or more. It was interesting to note that one of the most disciplined of the group was Brandon Prust with only 4 minutes despite repeated challenges from the Senators. Galchenyuk seemed intimidated by all of the extra curricular stuff. Ryder was uninvolved.
What’s Next? – Game four in Ottawa Tuesday and if we see more of what happened in game three, the Canadiens will be coming home under a 3-1 Ottawa series chokehold.