After a hard-fought shootout victory, the Montreal Canadiens tinkered with their lineup, adding Michael McCarron and Alexei Emelin in place of Steve Ott and Brandon Davidson. Carey Price got the start, and the Hometown Hockey crowd was treated to the dulcet tones of Bob Cole.
The Habs got off to a lightning quick start, as Tomas Plekanec tipped the puck past Craig Anderson 28 seconds into the game.
Mere moments later, their hot start continued, as Mike Hoffman took an interference call against Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal continued to buzz, with Andrew Shaw getting a gorgeous chance, as the Habs continued to outhustle and outwork the Sens.
Unfortunately, despite the Canadiens’ momentum, Tom Pyatt scored a fluky goal, tying it 1-1 at 4:36.
The Sens snatched the momentum after that, drawing a penalty of their own. However, the Canadiens got two short-handed breakaways, one from Phillip Danault and one from Paul Byron, as the momentum swung back in the Habs’ favour, holding Ottawa to zero shots on goal.
The Habs largely continued to play well through a 4-on-4, but Jordie Benn took a penalty for defending Carey Price when Chris Kelly went into him. The Senators’ power play was a disaster, and the Habs strong short-handed play gave them a boost.
With 2:15 left to go in the period, the Canadiens capitalized on their pressure, as Benn scored on a gorgeous one-timer.
After 20, the Habs led 2-1, and the shots were a close 13-12 for the Canadiens.
The Senators got the better of the first part of the second frame, keeping the Habs running around with a strong forecheck.
About halfway through the period, Galchenyuk, Radulov, and Pacioretty got the Habs going as all three got chances on Anderson. The terrific shift sparked off a prolonged stint in the offensive zone that saw good shifts from the third line and fourth lines, and a great shot from Nathan Beaulieu.
With 7:40 to go in the frame, the Habs were outshooting the Sens 10-3 in the second, and had once again taken over the momentum.
Kyle Turris threatened to tie the game with about three minutes left in the period, but Price turned the puck aside, to a thunderous ovation from the Bell Centre faithful.
Ottawa generated some push-back, but the period ended with Montreal outshooting Ottawa 29-19. Moreover, they were out-chancing the Sens as well.
After 40 scoring chances are 16-8 for Montreal, 4-2 in high danger chances, 9-4 in chances on net.— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) March 20, 2017
The Canadiens got off to a good start in he third, as Michael McCarron got a beautiful backhand chance on Anderson. There was a brief moment when the Habs thought they might have scored, but the goal was vehemently waived off on the ice, and a quick video review showed that the puck under Anderson’s pad had never crossed the line.
There was no question about goal or no goal, however, when Byron put the puck past Anderson with authority to give the Habs the 3-1 lead. Gallagher got the assist after taking a hit to make the pass to the now-20-goal-scorer.
They kept their foot on the pedal, and at about the 11-minute mark, Zack Smith and Alexander Radulov got into a shoving match as Radulov objected to Smith’s putting him into the boards by the bench. A crowd gathered, and Radulov, Benn, Smith, and Mark Borowiecki all got two minutes for roughing.
Things continued to escalate — as they almost inevitably do against Ottawa — when Torrey Mitchell and Chris Kelly dropped the gloves after Mitchell objected to being knocked over.
It didn’t get a whole lot better when Bobby Ryan stapled Radulov without the puck, and Pacioretty grabbed Ryan as the crowd gathered. Ryan took an interference penalty on the play and Nathan Beaulieu put a rocket through Anderson.
Scarcely had the puck dropped when Gallagher set up Byron directly off the faceoff a mere six seconds later. Unfortunately, Byron was the victim of the skate-off-the-ice offside review, so the goal was called back.
The Senators tried to get something going after that, but Price remained stellar, and the Habs picked up a convincing 4-1 win, and big two points to pad their division lead.
- Andrew Shaw had a very good outing. No nonsense play, and several really good chances over the course of the game are pretty much everything one would want from him. He continues to be a very effective player under Julien, which is certainly encouraging.
- Paul Byron is the gift that just keeps on giving. Twenty goals, 17 assists, a multi-point game, and a real threat in just about every situation.
- Brendan Gallagher’s luck has turned, methinks. The goal Saturday night, a gorgeous assist last night, an overall strong game with unquestionably the best line of the game, and boy is it about time.
- Carey Price. That save. ‘Nuff said.
- Alexei Emelin looked better than he had the last time he played, especially on the hit on Karlsson at about the 11-minute mark in the third. But better is still not necessarily good.
- Nathan Beaulieu had a goal and an assist, and should never be benched again. Also Petry-Beaulieu on the power play is a thing of beauty that needs happen far more regularly.