The Canadiens blew a 2-0 lead in the final nine minutes of regulation time and then the Ottawa Senators scored on their second shot of overtime for a 3-2 win and a 3-1 stranglehold on their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The Senators outshot the Canadiens 13-4 in the final period and got goals from Mika Zibanejad and Cory Conacher to tie the game. The Conacher goal was scored at 19:37 with Craig Anderson removed for the extra attacker. Carey Price was hurt on a shot at the period expired and was replaced by Peter Budaj in the overtime. Kyle Turris scored the game winner on a screen shot at 2:32 of overtime. The Canadiens goals got goals from P.K. Subban and Alex Galchenyuk just over a minute apart early in the second period. Final shots on goal were 34-28 in favour of the Senators. Game five of the series will be at the Bell Centre Thursday.
Adding It Up –
Leaving the Door Open – After playing two solid periods and entering the third period with a 2-0 lead, the Canadiens did what we saw all too often last year. They sat back and let their defencemen and Carey Price do all the work. And in the end, they couldn’t close the deal. Ottawa outshot the Canadiens 13-4 and by sheer weight of numbers, bad things were bound to happen.
Bad Thing #1 – The NHL has admitted their officials screwed up on the placement of a faceoff after Carey Price had halted play in his own end at 11:49 of the third. Expecting a faceoff to the left he sent out David Desharnais to take the draw. The referee wrongly put it to the right, Desharnais’ weak side. Jeff Halpern normally would have taken that faceoff. Ultimately, Desharnais was kicked out of the circle. Brendan Gallagher came in, lost the draw to Zack Smith and six seconds later the puck was in the net. (NHL Rule 76.2 Face-off Locations – When stoppage occurs between the end face-off spots and near end of the rink, the puck shall be faced-off at the end face-off spot on the side where the stoppage occurs unless otherwise expressly provided by these rules.)
Bad Thing #2 – In the minds of most who saw the goal there was no doubt it was kicked in by Mika Zibanejad. The war room in Toronto couldn’t make it’s mind up so they went with the call on the ice; good goal. Canadiens still led 2-1.
Bad Thing #3 – With 54 seconds remaining and the Ottawa goal empty, the normally speedy Eric Karlsson doddled his way back on a cleared puck and the linesman fell for it. Icing the call. Faceoff in the Canadiens end and 20 seconds later off the faceoff Cory Conacher tied the game.
Bad Things #4 & #5 – As time ran out Carey Price deflected a high shot over the top of the net but went to his knees awkwardly, clearly pulling either a groin or leg muscle. Early in the overtime, Brandon Prust went to his knees with a similar problem after what seemed to be an innocent brush with Eric Gryba.
The Ending – A shot by Kyle Turris past by Budaj who was screened by Raphael Diaz and Daniel Alfredsson. Game over. In the end, for the Canadiens five bad things in a period 15 minutes, mostly caused by a failure to do the things that got them a 2-0 lead through the first two periods.
What’s With This? – Through the first two periods of the game, Alex Galchenyuk was one of, if not the best Canadiens forward. 12 shifts and 7:50 ice time and a game leading four shots and of course, the goal that made it 2-0. In the spirit of “kitty-bar-the-door” Michel Therrien gave him three shifts in the third period. Total ice time 10:30.
The Bounceback – Carey Price was placed in a difficult position by his own teammates Sunday in game three. In this one, he was first star until midway through the first period. Zibanejad was open because Jarred Tinordi left him open. The tieing goal came on a scramble came Plekanec won a faceoff but the Canadiens couldn’t clear the zone. The question after that late injury is, will we see him again?
Mixed Messanger – P.K. Subban had his moments. In the first period he caused some grief when he took himself out of position and then missed a check creating a sequence that led to Prust being forced to take a penalty. Early in the scored the opening goal off a great setup from Plekanec. He also collected a terrible penalty near the end of the second period. He scored on his one shot and missed the net seven times.
Adjusting – With Eller, Gionta and White out, logic said Jeff Halpern would be moved on to the fourth line. Instead Therrien put him on the third line with Galchenyuk and Prust. For two periods, they were the Canadiens best, producing a goal and five scoring chances. They weren’t allowed to play together in the third as Galchenyuk was benched.
Comatose But Not Dead –The Canadiens have no wiggle room. They have put themselves in this position despite the fact that they have won eight of the slightly more than 12 periods in the series to date. The only remaining shred of hope is the fact two of their remaining three games are at home. Of course that only comes into play if they can find a way to win two in a row.
They Gotta Have Heart – If they’re to extend this series, they’ll need “miles and miles of heart”. First Emelin was hurt. In the playoffs Eller, Gionta and White didn’t play in this game and they nearly pulled it off thanks to some interesting line juggling. Now Price and Prust have injuries. Too much to bear? We’ll see Thursday.