At the beginning of the week, just prior to the homestand, Pierre McGuire suggested that win or lose, the Tuesday game against New Jersey should be disregarded. He said that the Canadiens would play on pure emotion after the long road trip. McGuire said that the real test would be Thursday’s game against Ottawa. The measurement is now in, and the Habs are a little short.
Don’t get me wrong. The Canadiens are having a great season exceeding all expectations and are capable of beating any team in the league. Are they an elite NHL team? Not yet!
Let’s not forget, past on-ice and locker room struggles aside, the Ottawa Senators are a talented hockey team. Ottawa beat the Canadiens to loose pucks all night in the offensive and defensive zones. The team in white has speed too! The Canadiens could not gain the offensive zone for any sustained pressure. Dump-ins were cleared quickly by the Senators. Canadiens forecheck was ineffective. Ottawa breakouts were done with ease.
Game Summary – big minuses for the following:
- Canadiens defense who did not clear the front of the net.
- Penalty killers who allowed the Senators to go 2 for 5 on the powerplay.
- Streit, Kovalev and Latendresse who all took dumb, selfish penalties.
- Canadiens powerplay that was 0 for 3.
- Carbonneau who hounded the referees all night and made some curious decisions.
No critique of Brunet’s comments tonight. There was something much more important that caught my attention. The Van Doos were in the building! The Royal 22nd regiment from CFB Valcartier were an impressive sight as they marched onto the ice in their scarlet tunics and black bearskin hats to play the national anthem. Well done!…and thanks for what you do for our country!
Kostopoulos goes to the net and draws a penalty. Redden 2 minutes for highsticking. Sergei K on point for 2nd unit PP.
Contrary to pregame reports, Alfredsson is playing tonight. Seems that Murray has split the big line though with Alfredsson playing apart from Heatley and Spezza.
Streit takes a lazy penalty in the offensive zone. Stillman shot from point deflected by Spezza in front of the net. Ottawa leads 1-0.
Good work in front of the net by Ryder and Lapierre.
Schubert doing a good job shadowing Kovalev so far. Passes by KPK line not sharp tonight.
Donovan in on a breakaway. Great pad save by Price.
Kostopoulos pushing to the net again. Canadiens are outshooting the Senators.
Kovalev takes a bad penalty off the faceoff in the offensive zone. Another penalty for Kovy in the last minute of a period.
Good first period for Kostopoulos.
On the ensuing powerplay, Spezza banks a shot off Price’s back and into the net. Both Markov and Komisarek left Spezza alone. Spezza’s stick made contact with the puck right at crossbar height. After review, the goal stands. Ottawa ahead 2-0. Another assist for Stillman who surprisingly looks good on the point on the PP.
Donovan in all alone again. Big save by Price.
Hamrlik with two solid hits on Lapointe in the same shift.
Where are the quick, crisp passes on the Canadiens powerplay?
Carey Price makes a tough save near his mask. Gorges doesn’t clear the rebound. Vermette beats him to the puck and scores. Ottawa leads 3-0.
Canadiens outshot 11-5 in the period.
Pressure finally from the KPK line. Hamrlik joins the scramble in front of the net. Gerber is steady though.
Careless penalty by Latendresse on Spezza results in a 4 minute minor for highsticking.
Carbonneau, who has developed a reputation as a coach who yaps too much to the referees, is doing far too much chirping.
Canadiens defense is still not clearing the front of the net.
After a bad penalty by Latendresse, Carbonneau promotes him to the 2nd line. Bizarre! Higgins to the 4th line.
Schubert penalty. Can the Habs break the shoutout? Carbo waves the white flag by putting out Latendresse, Lapierre and Sergei K on the PP. Really sad!
Canadiens outshoot Ottawa 11-5 in the third period. Overall Habs have a 27-24 advantage.
Rocket’s 3 stars:
1. Jason Spezza
2. Cory Stillman
3. Martin Gerber