You would think that a 6th place team, playing a 14th place team this late in the season would be a no-brainer. But when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens, we all know that will not be the case.
The Habs played one of the dullest games in recent memory, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators.
It was certainly a complete 180 degree turn from an exciting overtime win, against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, to clinch a playoff spot. Tonight's game was a cross between a pre-season game an an intra-squad match-up, without the goal scoring.
Clearly the Habs wanted to take it easy, but you would think they would go for the kill against the Senators in their final home game.That unfortunately didn't happen and Sens fans left Scotiabank Place with at least one thing to smile about this season. OK, maybe two. Jason Spezza has eight points in his last three games. If the NHL had a too little, too late award....
The exclamation point of the game came in the third period, during a five-minute power play that saw the Canadiens managed just one shot on goal. And that one came in the dying seconds with the man-advantage. The only real scoring chance of the five-minute span came at the opposite end of the ice.
But down 2-1, late in the third period, the Canadiens decided to wake up and tie the game. Mike Cammalleri's 19th goal of the season, on a beautiful pass from Andrei Kostitsyn (who knew he could pass so well?) was the type of play Habs fans were well accustomed to in last season's playoffs. Hopefully No. 13's shoulder is improving, as that shot will be needed in the playoffs.
Good news for Habs fans was the return of Jaroslav Spacek. The veteran rearguard played 16:15, and led the team with 3 blocked shots.
More good news is that the New York Rangers lost, meaning the Canadiens can finish no worse than seventh in the Eastern Conference. A loss by the Buffalo Sabresin either of their final two games, or a win by the Habs Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, will lock up sixth place.
What the Canadiens bring to the table in their final game of the regular season remains to be seen. But you just know the Leafs will be bringing their "A game" and playing for bragging rights.
Crap play of the night: Francis Lessard's behind the back hit on Tom Pyatt, which led to his ejection from the game. Certainly "Mr." Lessard can expect a call from Colin Campbell tomorrow. Fortunately Pyatt returned to the ice after the NHL's new mandatory rest period.
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Sens reaction from Silver Seven