After having dropped their game to the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in overtime on Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens were back in action at the Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night to try to avenge the loss and end their losing streak. Carey Price got the start in goal for the Canadiens and Matt Murray got the go for the Senators, while Brett Kulak took Victor Mete’s spot on the blue line for the rematch.
It took just 1:36 for the Senators to open the scoring and begin their dominance. During a zone entry, Derek Stepan carried the puck in the zone on Price’s blocker side before passing to Drake Batherson, who was left all alone in front of the net as Kulak was caught out of position. Batherson then skated around Price to net his fifth goal of the season and his first of two points on the night.
The Senators doubled their lead less than halfway through the first period on the power play as Jesperi Kotkaniemi was in the box for charging Erik Gudbranson. Though Price, who made 35 saves in the game, stole a goal from Austin Watson with a diving save midway through the power play, Brady Tkachuk’s seventh of the season snuck between his blocker and pad shortly thereafter to give the Senators a 2-0 lead.
Though they had their own power-play opportunity halfway through the period, sloppy passing to empty space instead of other players and a total lack of cohesion kept the Canadiens in their own defensive zone for the majority of the two minutes. When they finally found their way into offensive territory with 15 seconds left in the penalty, they went in offside and the play was blown dead.
With six minutes remaining in the opening frame, Ben Chiarot and Tkachuk dropped the gloves, sending Chiarot to the dressing room early with a bloody nose. The physicality and frustration only picked up from there, with scrums occurring after most of the whistles for the rest of the period.
Though it seemed like the Canadiens would head into the intermission with a two-goal hill to climb, Shea Weber sent the puck in the general direction of the net with four minutes left to play and it deflected off of Nikita Zaitsev’s skate, giving Weber his first goal of the night.
After the first-period buzzer sounded, Josh Anderson was assessed a roughing penalty to open the second and the situation quickly went from bad to worse. Weber was called for a double high-sticking minor against Tkachuk just a minute into the period as well, giving the Senators a full minute of five-on-three. Price had to make multiple quick pad saves to keep his team within one, but despite killing off the two-man advantage, Erik Brannstrom netted his first career goal with a wrist shot that squeaked through Price’s pads at the end of the double minor.
Like a game of ping-pong, the Canadiens didn’t allow the Senators to keep their two-goal lead for very long. Jonathan Drouin stole the puck from a falling Thomas Chabot five minutes into the period and slid it behind Matt Murray.
In what would be a big moment of the game, Price turned away Colin White on a breakaway halfway through the second frame. This allowed Weber’s second of the game that he slapped home about a minute later to tie the game at three, despite the Canadiens being outshot 33-21.
Montreal took their first lead of the night 8:06 into the third period as Tyler Toffoli deked out Brannstrom and ripped a wrister that beat Murray glove-side. However, in a similar fashion to the first two periods, the Senators retaliated two minutes later with Tkachuk’s second of the night.
Brendan Gallagher appeared to become the hero for the Canadiens by putting the puck behind Murray with just 2.9 seconds left on the clock to take a 5-4 lead, but after a league-initiated review, the goal was called back for goaltender interference.
Overtime saw Price rob Tim Stützle on a one-timer and Murray stop Toffoli on a breakaway, while no one found the back of the net, bringing the two teams to a shootout. Though Drouin hit the post, neither he nor Corey Perry were able to score. Stützle slid the eventual game-winner under Price’s pad and Josh Norris scored up high on his attempt, locking in Ottawa’s 5-4 victory.
The Canadiens will be back in action on Thursday as they take on the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season, before playing them again on Saturday and returning home to take on the Senators once more on Tuesday night.