A power play goal in overtime by Clarke MacArthur ruined a stirring third period comeback bid by the Canadiens Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens had come back from a 3-1 deficit on goals by Daniel Briere, his second of the night and Brian Gionta to tie the game. With 19 seconds remaining, P.K. Subban was forced to take a penalty on an Erik Condra breakaway which carried into the overtime. In the first period the Senators shocked the Canadiens with goals fourteen seconds apart to take a 3-1 lead. Mark Stone’s first NHL goal broke a 1-1 tie only 1:38 after Daniel Briere had tied the game. Erik Condra scored seconds later to make it 3-1. The teams battled through a scoreless second period before the Canadiens mounted their comeback. Shots on goal in the game were 34-29 for Ottawa. The three stars were Briere, MacArthur and Carey Price.
Adding It Up –
Worrisome – Bad habits well established on the road, carried into their first home game of the New Year. Another poor first period, a belated comeback attempt and another overtime. Four of the last six games have gone to overtime two of them losses. You take the points, but there have to be some questions asked.
Comeback Kid – After being a healthy scratch for three straight games, Daniel Briere had some things to prove, mostly to himself. For one game at least we saw the old Briere. In the first period he centered the fourth line and tied the game on a setup from Travis Moen. Therrien like what he saw and moved him up with Plekanec and Gionta in the second period. The line scored the two goals to tie the game. Briere got his second goal and an assist for a three point night.
Is It Time? – Through the first two periods the Canadiens best forward was Alex Galchenyuk in a playmaking role despite the face he’s playing left wing. The coaches seem to disagree but it seems clear to most who watch his development that it’s time to move him to centre. The second question is, who’s job does he take?
Not Working – The idea of breaking up the Subban/Markov pairing was to balance scoring. That part didn’t work and now the defensive side of the Canadiens game is screwed up as well. In seven game apart the Canadiens have given up 26 goals. That’s 3.7 per game, a far cry from the stinginess of the Habs first 36 games.
Crankshaft – Not often that someone other than P.K. Subban catches your eye on the Canadiens defense, but Douglas Murray did that in this game. He logged his first two Canadiens points, both time pinching in from the line. A hard forecheck sprung the puck free for Moen who set up Briere in the first period and then in the third he held a prolonged battle with Jared Cowen before getting the puck to Plekanec who set up Gionta.
Guaranteed – Tomas Plekanec will centre a line that includes Daniel Briere Tuesday night. Plekanec/Briere/Gionta produced 14 of the Canadiens 29 shots in the game and five scoring points. Plekanec and Gionta had five shots each.
Also Worth Mentioning – ……An energetic night produced nothing for Rene Bourque. He had a goal taken away from him on quick whistle in the first period and then hit the post on a pass from Brendan Gallagher in the second period. ……After an outstanding game against Dallas, Josh Gorges was the opposite in this game. Belying the face he was plus-one, Gorges was beaten between his legs at his own blueline by Mark Stone who scored on a breakaway and generally seemed to be in trouble for much of the night. ….Another good night for P.K. Subban. On the game-tieing goal, he came off the bench to pick the puck up just inside Ottawa line and swooped behind the net before sending it out to the line. If they gave three assists, Subban would be there.….After sweating it out in the Dallas press box Thurday, Alexei Emelin was back in the lineup and his trade mark physical game was back as well. After seeming to ease off on the rough stuff for two weeks, he came back with a total of eight hits to lead the Canadiens. He played alongside Markov most of the night. From the game report… Shots on goal-Plekanec, Gionta (5); Hits – Emelin (8); Blocked Shots- Subban (4).
Moving On – A day off Sunday then they play the Florida Panthers Monday at the Bell Centre, move on to play the Flyers in Philadelphia Wednesday and then back home for the anticipated game against Chicago on Saturday.