The league-leading Montreal Canadiens rolled into Tuesday's game at the Bell Centre against the Ottawa Senators having won two games in a row and leading the league in various offensive categories including total goals scored and most goals scored in each period.
The visiting Senators have a better record on the road (4-1-0) than at home (1-3-2), and always seem to have a chip on their shoulder when they play against the Habs. Mark Stone was purging the first game of a two game suspension, however Mike Hoffman and Curtis Lazar were making a return to the line-up.
Mike Condon got his second consecutive start while Carey Price nurses a lower body injury. The rookie netminder was undefeated thus far this season. Craig Anderson got the start for the Senators.
Ottawa has been known for slow starts this season, and lived up to that reputation by only having one shot on net in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Canadiens however failed to capitalize on their possession advantage.
Tomas Plekanec thought that he scored off of a set play stemming from a won faceoff in the Sens zone, but the goal was refused by the on-ice official due to an incidental contact between Brendan Gallagher and Anderson. Michel Therrien challenged the call, but the call stood and the Canadiens lost their timeout as a result.
Mike Condon realized his best save of the game late in the first period when Cody Ceci and Jean-Gabriel Pageau came streaming down on a two-on-one. Ceci tried to shoot glove side, but Condon calmly made a save. Mike Condon played an excellent game overall, making 25 saves.
Shots in the first period were 10-7 in favour of Montreal.
Pageau (who else?) opened the score in the second period with a short-handed breakaway goal when P.K. Subban whiffed on an attempted shot from the point and the puck found itself on the Senator's stick with a clean path straight to Condon.
Pageau continued his hot streak against Montreal in regular season play now collecting a point in five consecutive games. The Habs tried to recover on the same power play, but Petry's stick exploded on contact on the exact same play from the point that Subban whiffed on. Thankfully there was no repetition of the previous result.
Dale Weise tied the game 1-1 on the next power play on an excellent tic-tac-toe play with Andrei Markov and Alex Galchenyuk. The Habs cycled the puck with incredible ease, with David Desharnais and Galchenyuk winning some key battles on the cycle.
The teams then exchange posts to finish off the period. First Milan Michalek hit the crossbar on a two-on-one when Tom Gilbert was caught up-ice. Then Lars Eller rang one off the post. Both times the goalies disrupted the trajectory of the puck with their gloves just enough to keep it out of the net.
The second period ended with Montreal again having the shot advantage 12-7.
The third period was an exercise in neutral-zone trapping and viewer patience. The play was back and forth, with Ottawa holding a slight advantage in possession.
An Erik Karlsson shot trickled through Condon, however the whistle blew before the puck crossed the line. The play was reviewed and the call stood.
The Plekanec line had the best chances of the period for the Habs, but Anderson made the save each time.
Montreal was unable to capitalize on a late period penalty to Marc Methot for high-sticking and the game went to overtime, despite Montreal leading in shots 15-12 in that period.
This was Montreal's first three-on-three overtime of the season and the Senators' fifth.
It ended quickly, when Max Pacioretty made a bad pass in the Senators zone after controlling the play, which led to a two-on-one break for the Senators which Kyle Turris converted into the game-winning goal only 0:34 into the extra frame.
- This was Montreal's first loss at home of the season
- Paul Byron's acceleration is amazing to watch and his stickhandling is just getting better.
- Devante Smith-Pelly turned the Galchenyuk line into a threat for both controlled zone entries and dump-and-chase. Three offsides for this line in the first however means that the synchronization is not quite there yet. Despite exhibiting control of the play, the line played limited minutes in the third period.
- The Pacioretty-Plekanec-Gallagher line hasn't scored at even strength in six games now.
- No reason to believe that Mike Condon won't start every game in Carey Price's absence since he continued to make timely saves, showed rebound control, and generally played with the confidence of a starter.
- Torrey Mitchell's four-game point streak (two goals and three assists) came to an end.