Recap – Canadiens vs Senators: Habs Slow Start Hands Win to Sens

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(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 43, Away Game 23 | Thursday January 15, 2015
Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, ON.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

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SENATORS
Ottawa

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lineup scratches: Mike Weaver, Christian Thomas

Game Notes:

Just average.  Where would your Canadiens be without the best goaltender on the planet? On a night when the goaltending was rather ordinary, it was plain to see that the Habs are just an average team. Against the lowly Ottawa Senators winners of just seven of their last 21 games, Montreal had difficulty generating offense from anyone beyond the first line. This may have had something to do with Michel Therrien churning out line combinations at a dizzying pace.

No excuses. The coach referenced fatigue after the game for the Canadiens poor first period start.  It was rather odd given that Montreal has one of the easiest travel schedules in the league. In addition, the Habs have played just four contests in the past 12 days that has included TWO three-day stretches without game action.  Poor preparation has become a hallmark of this season’s team, something that Michel Therrien has done nothing to change in the first half.  The Canadiens are 29th in first period goals scored, lighting the lamp once every 2.5 games in the opening 20 minutes.

Where’s the line?  The Canadiens are 26th in the league in hits this season meaning that they are getting outhit on a nightly basis and sometimes by a healthy margin.  With the Habs starting to earn a reputation as a soft team, opponents have been taking liberties particularly with Montreal’s skilled centre. Alex Galchenyuk has been rocked by several thunderous checks in the past week or so. Against the Senators it was Bobby Ryan who caught Galchenyuk with his head down. Part of the problem is Galchenyuk’s free-wheeling style of play but it may be time for coach Therrien to assign Brandon Prust to Alex’s  wing to tone down the abuse. Galchenyuk’s last goal came on December 20th.

Plus / Minus

▲    Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller, Sergei Gonchar

▼    P.A. Parenteau, P.K. Subban, Nathan Beaulieu, Dustin Tokarski, Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin, Michael Bournival

 Statistics
CANADIENS SENATORS
26 Shots 35
0 for 4 Power Play 0 for 4
41% Face-offs 59%
8 Penalty Mins 8
15 Hits 19
42 Fenwick For 47
61 Corsi For 65
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (27-13-3) 1 0 0 1
 Senators (18-17-8) 2 1 1 4
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Pacioretty (21)
  • OTT:  Zibanejad (10), Pageau (1), Karlsson (8), Condra (4)
  • MTL: Tokarski (L) 4-3-1
  • OTT: Anderson (W) 12-10-6
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Jean-Gabriel Pageau  OTT
  2.  Craig Anderson  OTT
  3.  Erik Karlsson  OTT

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “We had a rough start. That was probably our worst first period of the season. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Senators. They came in hard. We advised our players what to expect. They didn’t compete at all in the first period and it ended up costing us the game. We were better in the second and third but it was definitely too late.”
  • “We need contribution from more than one line. We’ve got seven forwards who didn’t get a shot on net. This is unacceptable.”
  • “It is tough, I’m not going to deny it. The back-to-back is not easy. You’re looking around the NHL, it’s tough to be back-to-back on the road, but when we got our legs going it was too late.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “We came out flat and once we started to play our game we had a chance to get back into it but we couldn’t find a way to solve the goalie. A lot of the game was on the perimeter. A game like that, back-to-back, it’s got to be a playoff mentality and we’ve got to find a way to get pucks to the net and bodies to the net and that’s what you need to beat a hot goaltender.”
  • “You can’t be perfect every night. We had some good movement on the power play today, we had a couple of looks that at the end of the day we probably just got to shoot and keep it simple. It’s easy to judge the power play on the pucks that go in the net, but tonight we didn’t lose any momentum on the power play. It wasn’t like that. This was a little different story.”

Brendan Gallagher

  • “I’m not really sure what made the difference. I think we just won a lot of battles. We wanted the puck and we worked it around. We just kept it really simple. We got pucks to the net. Once we started shooting, it opened up other things. We were able to create some chances and we were able to score some goals.”
  • “I’ve played with both of them before. I thought we worked well together. We were able to create some chances. Nobody was holding on to the puck for too long. We worked it around pretty good. It’s only one game. We know it’s going to get tougher. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think as a line we’re excited for that.”

Ottawa coach Dave Cameron

  • “[It was] a hostile environment, in your home building.”
  • “[Playing] Montreal brings out the best in [Jean-Gabriel Pageau.]”
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